Anyone have insomnia as symptom of COVID-19?

Posted by mkqq @mkqq, Apr 30, 2020

Hi all,

So I got sick 8 weeks ago and the doctor thinks it might have been Covid-19. There was no way to be certain as the infection was already gone when I visited the clinic last week. They did a CRP test and it showed no sign of infection.

I started with a fever that lasted 3 days and suddenly on the 4th or 5th day I had a sleepless night. Then for the next 5 days I had alternating nights where I slept and where I couldn’t sleep at all. For the last 8 weeks or so my sleeping has been absolutely terrible.

The doctor tells me she has seen other Covid-19 patients and some of they say they cannot sleep.

Just wondering is anyone experiencing insomnia as a direct symptom of Covid-19? Or does it always come down to anxiety and your fight/flight response? For me there is a lot of anxiety which is contributing to the problem.

Many thanks

@mkqq as more is studied and understood about this virus, more symptoms are being added to the list. See Mayo Clinic's list of symptoms here:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/symptoms-causes/syc-20479963
While tiredness and fatigue are commonly listed, insomnia is not, at least not at this time. A Google search of "insomnia and COVID" returns many articles about the stress and anxiety of COVID and how they can lead to insomnia.

Either way, since you know that anxiety is a part of your reality at the moment, it may help to work on reducing it. Mayo Clinic's @DrDonaLocke has started a blog series called "Creating your Resiliency Roadmap." As a resiliency workshop leader for Mayo Clinic Arizona staff, she is offering Connect members the same training through the blog. You may wish to follow along.

Roadmap Plan:
Day 1: Identify your own personal signs of stress
Day 2: What aspects of a stressful situation are most likely to be challenging for you?
Day 3: Identify stress coping techniques that already work for you and some tips from me.
Day 4: Some formal relaxation techniques you may want to try if you haven't already so you can add them to your toolkit for resiliency.
Day 5: Healthy thinking and recognizing and reframing unhelpful thinking patterns.
Day 6: Intentional focus on positive emotions and experiences
Day 7: Social support (and keeping those connections in this time of physical distancing!)

Get started here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/living-with-mild-cognitive-impairment-mci/newsfeed-post/creating-your-resiliency-roadmap-introduction/

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To be honest for me the first 2-3 sleepless nights were the most mysterious, especially the first one.

That was a Tuesday night which was 2 days after the fever was gone. I did spend those few days trying to figure out if I had Corona or not, but I don't remember being overly anxious. On Monday afternoon and Tuesday I felt I was not breathing right, i.e holding breath a etc… this might have been due to anxiety.

But still doesn't fully explain why I couldn't sleep the whole night. Wednesday night I slept. Thursday night I couldn't sleep again. Friday night I spelt (although poorer quality), and Saturday night again couldn't sleep.

Since then it has just been going massively downhill. Then I started taking melatonin and even used Oxazepam for some days. I stopped with Oxazepam a few weeks ago and now only take a quarter tablet for the nights that I really need to sleep.

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I tested positive for COVID-19 through blood test. (I was found to have the antibodies.) My husband also tested positive. We have been in Senegal, West Africa for the past year. When I got COVID-19 I only had a mild fever for two days. I suffered no respiratory problems. I had one day when I could not taste food. The main effects I have had have been neurological. The virus seemed to exacerbate my existing back problem and caused increased pain in my gluteal muscles and calves as well a weird sensation in the whole area from my waist downwards that is very unpleasant. This was with pins and needles and muscle spasms. I was even incontinent of urine when I eventually fell asleep at the worst point. So, yes, COVID-19 has definitely caused me insomnia ,as all the pain and discomfort is accentuated when I am in the horizontal, but I am wondering if it is that alone that keeps me awake. I actually feel very wakeful too.

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@mariyamakabo

I tested positive for COVID-19 through blood test. (I was found to have the antibodies.) My husband also tested positive. We have been in Senegal, West Africa for the past year. When I got COVID-19 I only had a mild fever for two days. I suffered no respiratory problems. I had one day when I could not taste food. The main effects I have had have been neurological. The virus seemed to exacerbate my existing back problem and caused increased pain in my gluteal muscles and calves as well a weird sensation in the whole area from my waist downwards that is very unpleasant. This was with pins and needles and muscle spasms. I was even incontinent of urine when I eventually fell asleep at the worst point. So, yes, COVID-19 has definitely caused me insomnia ,as all the pain and discomfort is accentuated when I am in the horizontal, but I am wondering if it is that alone that keeps me awake. I actually feel very wakeful too.

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@mariyamakabo– Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I hate not being able to sleep, especially when I'm sick. There seems to be an increase in insomnia due to COVID-19. There's even a name given by Neurologists: "COVID-Somnia".
https://journals.lww.com/neurotodayonline/fulltext/2020/07090/sleep_neurologists_call_it.1.aspx
Have you sought any kind of relief for your pain or symptoms?

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I got diagnosed with covid last Thursday and for the past few nights I haven't been able to sleep on time or when I feel tired. After reading the first comment about having a fever for the first 3 days then this, it reminded me of what im dealing with.

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To be quite honest, it is hard to distinguish if it is the pain I am in or simply stress, but my COVID experience seems to be that I am more wakeful and unable to sleep. It is unlike other viruses which make one feel really sleepy. My husband, who also got COVID is the same and he is not in pain. (The virus attacked my back.)

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PS. When we first got COVID we had no idea it was that as our symptoms were atypical, so there was no 'COVID stress'.

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@mariyamakabo

PS. When we first got COVID we had no idea it was that as our symptoms were atypical, so there was no 'COVID stress'.

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@mariyamakabo– Hello. Perhaps we didn't know a lot of details of COVID-19 at the beginning but we were afraid, nevertheless.

Here is some help with insomnia:
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-guidelines-covid-19-isolation
I think that then it was stress about the unknown and now it's the stress of the known. I wonder which is worse?

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@isaac1046

I got diagnosed with covid last Thursday and for the past few nights I haven't been able to sleep on time or when I feel tired. After reading the first comment about having a fever for the first 3 days then this, it reminded me of what im dealing with.

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@isaac1046– Good morning and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Oh, no! When there is stress there is most likely insomnia. And if there is pain or other difficult symptoms that just adds to it. It's bad enough to have COVID-19 but when you can't sleep even if you are tired it adds to the stress. It's a vicious circle.

How are you handling the added stress?

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I’ve recently recovered from covid it’s been 2 weeks and I can’t sleep at night, I may get 2 hours but that’s it. It’s so weird cause my eyes get heavy but when I go to bed I can’t fall asleep. When I was sick with covid I slept through the night fine.

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I do not have anxiety nor do I suffer from depression. I am a happy, optimistic person. However, ever since I recovered from Covid I have severe insomnia. I go to bed at a reasonable time but at 5:00 in the morning I am STILL not sleepy. Nothing has changed in my life except that I had Covid. I hope there will be some studies/research on this phenomenon.

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I had Covid-19 in late October through several weeks of November. I am a layperson, not a physician. I did though have trouble with erratic sleep patterns. Just based on my own experimenting, if found that Taking time-release Melatonin began to help me return to a more normal sleep pattern. I doubt there are any scientific studies to back this up. I have taken and still amt making 10 mgs. of Melatonin t night. Plan on cutting this down to 5ms. of Melatonin over this month. I do know that younger people make more melatonin naturally and as we age–I'm 70, our bodies make less. It does help me sleep through the night with no drowsiness when I awake in the morning. Good luck as I've heard that this sleep pattern disturbance happens to those of us who have had COVID-19.

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Thank you so much! Sounds like sound advice. Thank you for taking the time to write. Obtaining Melatonin might be difficult in the UK, but I will investigate.

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@mariyamakabo

Thank you so much! Sounds like sound advice. Thank you for taking the time to write. Obtaining Melatonin might be difficult in the UK, but I will investigate.

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Good morning @mariyamakabo. It's been a while since we have spoken. Fatigue and insomnia have become a very common side effect post-covid-19. There's even a name for it now! "COVID-somnia". As this virus persists I think that we will, unfortunately, see more longlasting side-effects
https://journals.lww.com/neurotodayonline/fulltext/2020/07090/sleep_neurologists_call_it.1.aspx
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351

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I was diagnosed with Covid19 on 12/7 (symptoms on 12/4/21).My medical provider put me on Ivermectin x 2 doses, Vit C, D, Zinc, Fish Oil, baby aspirin 2 x a day & Melatonin. On symptom-day 3 I started having about 3 fevers (100.0-100.9) daily that would stay above 99.0 with the use of Tylenol. I started to have insomnia at that time, twisting/turning in bed with disrupted sleep the whole night, and I would have the same dream over and over as I drifted into a light sleep. I dreaded the thought of sleep during the day because I knew what was coming. I started a cough that worsened. On 12/13 I went to the ER because I was losing my breath with coughing and started having shortness of breath. I was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to the hospital. Treated with IV antibiotics, IV steroids & injectable blood thinner. I was sent home the next day on oral antibiotics & a steroid (that probably added to the insomnia). I also started home oxygen therapy at 3 liters & piggybacked it into my CPAP hose at bedtime. I continued to wake 3 times a night (waking shortly after midnight, around 0300, & 0500). Insomnia continued until 1/02/21. By then it had tapered to 2 x a night for a week, then 1 time a night for a week.
After being absent from work for a month I returned on 1/04/21 starting at 4 hrs a day. That night I started waking up 3 x a night, again. I started a Rx generic sleep-med that knocked me out so I stopped. It would make me sleep all night but I couldn't get up to go to work. Now, I will start the brand name version 1/13 (fingers crossed that it works). When I awaken throughout the night I also have a hard time going back to sleep. I'm not exactly sure how many hours of sleep I get a night. I didn't notice a difference in my sleep pattern when taking 9mg of Melatonin, so I stopped that a while back.
From the beginning I made sure that I was well hydrated with water. I had a decreased appetite, and a loss of half of my taste, but a heightened taste of salt of anything made with added salt (cheese, peanut butter, etc). I lost 5 lb in 18 days because I also couldn't eat very much due to a fuller stomach pushing against my diaphragm and not letting my lungs expand, causing shortness of breath. Fruit tasted best so I had fresh fruit & my husband made me smoothies. I now eat 2 meals and 2 snacks a day.
I am also experiencing Covid19 Brain Fog. I have trouble finding words during a conversation, a hard time remembering computer passwords and performing computer tasks, a little trouble staying focused, and get a little overwhelmed with multi-tasking. My employer is working closely with me to make sure I am not getting overworked so I don't have a relapse with my breathing. I work 4-6 hrs a day depending on my stamina.
I do feel that I am progressing and have noticed mini-milestones on 12/18, 12/23, 1/02/21. On 12/23 I stopped wearing oxygen 24 hrs a day. I still take a shower with oxygen at 1.5 liters, and use 02 with my CPAP at 1.5 L. My oxygen saturation levels on my finger now range 93-95% without oxygen; but if I exert myself too much I get short of breath and have put on oxygen for relief . 02 saturations will drop to 90-92. I removethe 02 once it is resolved.

If you have any questions pertaining my story please feel free to ask. I am learning more about my condition and living with the after-effects of Covid19, which I am praying will subside with time.

K Patterson

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