Sleep in a Time of Pandemic

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephanie Corkett
703-243-1753
scorkett@thensf.org

Sleep in a Time of Pandemic: A Position Statement from the National Sleep Foundation

Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2020) – National Sleep Foundation (NSF) urges the public to follow healthy
sleep habits and keep regular sleep schedules during the COVID-19 crisis to prevent circadian rhythm
changes that can worsen sleep. With the global pandemic and the ever-changing news alerts, many
people are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, which are linked with poor sleep health. Now
more than ever, we need the restorative power of sleep.

Our 24-hour wake and sleep times are strongly influenced by our circadian biology. The circadian system
that controls the rhythms of our lives is highly sensitive to changes in our schedules, activities, the
timing of meals, and light exposure. During this massive disruption to our lives, we should all pay special
attention to keeping our schedules and biological clock as consistent as possible to preserve normal
circadian biology.

In order to keep our circadian rhythm intact and best able to help us maintain good sleep, we should
wake up and go to bed at consistent times every day, follow a regular exercise regimen, and go outside
daily to get some fresh air and sunlight.

Take this abnormal situation and turn it into an opportunity to see how your daily activities impact your
sleep health. You can improve your sleep quality in the long term by being mindful of your sleep habits
and tracking your sleep. If you have a smartwatch or fitness tracker, use the sleep tracker function to
monitor your sleep to determine the amount you need each night to wake up fully refreshed. If you do
not have a way to electronically track your sleep, keep a journal for two weeks to record the time you
went to sleep, got up for the day, and how you felt when you woke up in the morning.

If stress from COVID-19 is affecting your sleep, the National Sleep Foundation has information on how to
get a better night’s sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation gratefully acknowledges Drs. Thomas Roth and Andrew Krystal for
developing this Position Statement.

This statement was approved by the National Sleep Foundation Board of Directors on May 11, 2020.

About the National Sleep Foundation
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep
education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health
theory, research and practice.

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