A casual glance at literature and surveys over the last decade yields a consistent theme on the topic of stress. Namely, it’s not good for much—least of all sleep. Normal life can be difficult enough, but tack on the extraordinary COVID-19-related events of March 2020 and early April, and you have a recipe for stress unlike anything in recent memory.
An article in Elemental from last year lays out the baseline case for the miseries of stress. “When people are stressed at night, we know that it disrupts their quality of sleep,” says Christopher Fagundes, a stress researcher and associate professor at Rice University in the article by Markham Heid. “We also know that when people don’t sleep well, the next morning their blood pressure will be higher and inflammation levels will be higher.”
The consequences are increased risk for various medical conditions, including depression. The solution is to get better sleep—which is much easier said than done. One of the keys is finding clinicians who eschew turf wars and instead focus on the best solutions for patients.
In the BCV (before corona virus) world, the process often involved a visit to sleep physicians who would likely recommend a sleep study. From there, patients often required continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) for sleep apnea, or perhaps a visit to a dentist for an oral appliance.
In the current world, lower-tech options such as positional sleep therapy devices can work alone, or in combination, with other treatments. “Positional sleep therapy requires no prescription and can be ordered online for maximum convenience,” says Shad Morris, DMD, president and CEO, slumberBUMP, St. George, Utah. “The goal in any treatment option is to help patients find the option that actually works. If we all do that, everything else will work itself out. And during these tough times, we can at least get some much needed sleep.”