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Social distancing may be a rare chance to get our sleep patterns closer to what nature intended

Sleep problems

  • Anxiety over the future and fear for the health of loved ones increase hyper-arousal and rumination, thus intensifying insomnia.
  • Isolation from regular social rhythms and natural light will mess with our body clock, confusing us about when we are supposed to feel tired and when to perk up.
  • The smartphone age has already led to a substantial deterioration in both duration and quality of sleep.

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Social distancing may be a rare chance to get our sleep patterns closer to what nature intended

Social distancing may be a rare chance to get our sleep patterns closer to what nature intended

http://theconversation.com/coronavirus-social-distancing-may-be-a-rare-chance-to-get-our-sleep-patterns-closer-to-what-nature-intended-128524

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

Disrupted daily routines

The current pandemic is disrupting daily routines around the world.

  • Overwhelmed hospitals, desolate schools, ghostly towns, and self-isolation look like scenes from a horror movie and can increase our levels of worry. 
  • Around 40% of individuals feel anxiety about the pandemic, and more than half have been avoiding some or all other people.

Sleep in uncertain times

It is exactly during times of social uncertainty and anxiety, when we need sleep the most, that it is most disrupted.
We need sleep for maintaining the immunological function, which is key to preventing and recovering from infectious diseases (like the one created by the new virus).

Sleep problems

  • Anxiety over the future and fear for the health of loved ones increase hyper-arousal and rumination, thus intensifying insomnia.
  • Isolation from regular social rhythms and natural light will mess with our body clock, confusing us about when we are supposed to feel tired and when to perk up.
  • The smartphone age has already led to a substantial deterioration in both duration and quality of sleep.

Regulating our sleeping patters

In this period of social distancing, we should focus on improving our sleep.
Many of us can now sleep in and organize lives in ways that suit our biological ticker.
This may be an unprecedented opportunity to embrace a basic human need to switch off on a regular basis, helping human bodies fight the wars only those bodies know how.

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Re-evaluation

Disruption and isolation have a way of encouraging us to electively re-evaluate our lives.

Many are abandoning habits or behaviors during this pandemic. Some vowed to care less about ...

Reconsidering priorities

Living through a crisis can be genuinely formative. There are enormous growth and power that can come from it.

With business as usual, we tend to become accustomed to an autopilot mode of living. Aspects that we once thought important, like what to wear or buy, are now really petty.

Collectively, we may be reconsidering our priorities, the lasting effects that will also have an economic impact.

Long-term effects

With the new constraints of lockdown, people will be facing isolation, boredom, and a need for small joy. During this time, things will be streamlined or lost. After the adjustment period follows a time of re-evaluation in which we decide which behavioral changes we made during a crisis, we will abandon, and which we will sustain.

  • Many pleasures like eating in restaurants and traveling will be resumed.
  • Luxury goods may experience the biggest consumer fallout.
  • Online entertainment might also take a hit.
Exhausted In Isolation
Exhausted In Isolation

Due to the lockdown, tens of millions of people are sheltered at home, all across the world. There is a lack of routine, emotional insecurity, poor nutrition and alcohol/substance abuse, leading to...

Sun Therapy

If you can go outside, even for a walk around your home, make use of that. It is extremely important to get some sunlight absorption in your body, as it prevents depression and sluggishness while ensuring a healthy level of melatonin and serotonin in your brain.

Stay In The Routine

Having a new routine can be refreshing for a few days but it gets hard to maintain it.

It is imperative that we stick to a routine, shower, and dress every day, preferably waking up early, and at the same time.

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Isaac Newton's Quarantine
Isaac Newton's Quarantine

During the bubonic plague in 1665, Newton was among the students forced to return home from Trinity College, Cambridge.

Away from university life, curriculum constraints, and professors to g...

Creativity unleashed

Isaac Newton mentioned that during his isolation days, he was in the prime for his age for invention and focused on Mathematics and Philosophy more than any other time.

His forced time away from university life allowed his creativity to flourish. The discoveries he made during his time of social distancing would form the foundation of his career for years to come.

Focus on your potential

Our lives are upended and our routines are disrupted due to the pandemic. While there is much to despair about, we could also use this time for reflection and discovery.

The sudden change could unleash your imagination and inventiveness in ways that could not be possible under normal circumstances. This could be your year of greatness.

A History Of Pandemics
  • A Pandemic is defined as the proliferation of a disease over the whole country or the entire world.
  • Diseases and illnesses have troubled humanity since the earliest days, but ...
Quarantined
  • The original use of the word Quarantine was the act of anchoring a ship arrived in Venice, Italy, for 40 days before landing.
  • Infectiousness of any disease is measured by the reproduction number (R0, or R naught). For example, Smallpox has an R0 of 6 whereas Measles has an R0 of 16. 
  • Vaccination, if available, and herd immunity can curb the spread of disease.
  • Big cities, with exploding population and traffic, can lead to the rapid spread of any infectious disease.
The influenza pandemic of 1918

It is often referred to incorrectly as the “Spanish flu.” Between 50 and 100 million people are thought to have died, representing as much as 5% of the world’s population. Half a billion people...

The origins of the "Spanish" flu

The so-called Spanish flu did not originate in Spain. The geographic origin of the flu is debated to this day, though hypotheses have suggested East Asia, Europe, and even Kansas.
The influenza pandemic from 1918 got this name most likely because of the WWI context: The major countries involved in the war were keen to avoid encouraging their enemies, so reports of the extent of the flu were suppressed in Germany, Austria, France, the United Kingdom and the U.S. By contrast, neutral Spain had no need to keep the flu under wraps. That created the false impression that Spain was bearing the brunt of the disease.

The end of mankind

The 1918 flu spread rapidly, killing 25 million people in just the first six months. This led some to fear the end of mankind and that the whole thing was caused by a form of super-virus.
Recent studies show that the high death rate can be attributed to crowding in military camps and urban environments, as well as poor nutrition and sanitation, which suffered during wartime.

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Decision-making obstacles
Decision-making obstacles
Psychological reasons why we find decision-making difficult right now:
  • The realness of the present threat: the new virus is really contagious and people are dying from ...
The pandemic and our biases

The threat, uncertainty, and anxiety related to the pandemic lead us to make short-sighted decisions:

  • we crave more information so we are spending a lot of time looking for news updates relating to the virus and its spread. But too much negative news causes stress and distraction.
  • the lack of agency causes people to seek out actions that will make them feel more in control. Early on, this took the form of buying hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol.
Financial decisions

People want to take action quickly, even when inaction might be more prudent.
Faced with anxiety, some are making quick decisions about finances as well and started fear selling their stocks. But this is taking a paper loss in the present that is likely to come back in the future (given the way stock markets have acted in the past).

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Vivid dreams

During the 2020 pandemic, many people anecdotally reported surreal and more vivid dreams than usual.

Some theorize that the onset of vivid imagery is a result of changing sleep schedules. O...

Stress about a global pandemic

The continuity theory of dreams hypothesizes that people dream about the stuff they're thinking about and doing while they are awake.

Some researchers believe that dreams have a functional purpose that prepares us for difficult or challenging situations when we awake.

Similar types of dreams

The biggest variables that influence your dreams have to do with your regular sleep cycles. If it is a very traumatic event, people will experience nightmares.

People are also thinking more about their dreams, which makes them remember their dreams better.

Introducing People
Introducing People

People no longer have the option to introduce themselves to new people at their convenience (like in an office setting, for example). With the remote setting, the second someone joins an online mee...

The Waiting Room

It is advisable to enable the waiting room option for new joiners so that they are made to enter one at a time and provided with a proper introduction.

It also takes care of the risk of your meeting getting crashed by someone suddenly.

The Art Of The Pause
  • Video chats with multiple participants have a lot of cross-talk and people talking at the same time. This problem is compounded by dodgy internet speeds.

  • It is possible to listen to only one person at a time, so one has to learn the art of the pause. Stopping and staying silent will allow others to calm down.

  • Zoom also has a raise hand feature, which helps facilitate the meeting in an orderly fashion.

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