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COVID Impact: New Study Reveals 40% Spike In Insomnia Among Working Mothers During Pandemic

BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Are you often awake at 3 a.m. and can't get back to sleep? Or you can't fall asleep at all?

More and more women, especially mothers, are reporting insomnia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gloria Calderon of Baldwin is a working mother who can't sleep.

"Drives me crazy because as soon as his head touches the pillow, he's out. And for me, I'm tumbling and tumbling and tumbling," Calderon told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan on Monday.

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A recent study shows a 40% spike in insomnia since the start of the pandemic.

Nazeela Alli of the Bronx can attest.

"It's tougher to sleep during the pandemic. I have an 8-month-old. I'm more anxious," said Alli, also a working mother.


"Insomnia can be trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking up in the early hours of the morning, or just not feeling rested," added Dr. Qanta Ahmed, an NYU Langone sleep medicine physician.

Ahmed said the problem is striking women more than men.

"Especially mothers who are working -- what I call briefcase-to-backpack mothers. They have a profession, and they also take care of children. They are some of the most sleep-deprived members of society," Ahmed said.

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Deana Larosa of Franklin Square refers to it as "momsomnia."

"Yeah, momsomnia. Every little creak you wake up to, just like that. Sleep stress is like a killer," Larosa said.

Ahmed suggests creating a space to wind down at bedtime, meditation, breathing exercises, stretching, limiting evening alcohol and caffeine. Ahmed also said to avoid napping late in the day and shower at night.

Stress and anxiety activate what's known as the sympathetic nervous system, triggering adrenaline as we try to fall asleep. That suppresses our production of melatonin.


Doctors also say keeping a strict sleep schedule can help. Those afflicted should also cut out smartphones or internet usage at bedtime, and procrastination like shopping online.

Sleep center overnight monitoring helps insomniacs discover individual medical issues, like sleep apnea.

Sometimes all it takes is a sleep mask, a white noise machine and a good pillow and sheets.

An uptick in sleepwalking, waking in a confused state, and nightmares have all been reported during the pandemic.

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