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Understanding the Impact of Mild COVID-19 on Sleep Quality and Mental Health

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Zara Nwosu
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Understanding the Impact of Mild COVID-19 on Sleep Quality and Mental Health

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A recent study led by Dr. Huong T. X. Hoang of Phenikaa University, Vietnam, investigated the impact of mild COVID-19 infections on sleep quality. The study, which involved 1,056 COVID-19 survivors who were not hospitalized, revealed that a staggering 76.1% of participants reported experiencing insomnia, with 22.8% reporting severe insomnia. Interestingly, the severity of the initial infection did not correlate with the severity of insomnia, and even asymptomatic patients experienced insomnia.

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COVID-19 and the Nervous System

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, COVID-19 has a wide variety of effects on the nervous system. These include metabolic encephalopathy, strokes, and inflammatory syndromes. COVID-19 can impact certain populations differently, including racial and ethnic minority groups, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, and people living with disabilities. Those with existing neurological disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease, are at higher risk for severe COVID-19. The long-term neurological complications of COVID-19, known as Long COVID, can affect individuals for weeks, months, or even years after their initial infection.

Mild COVID-19 Infections and Cognitive Dysfunction

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A report published in the British Medical Journal discusses the impact of mild COVID-19 infections on cognitive dysfunction and long-term symptoms. The report indicates that cognitive problems are common after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection and can persist for more than a year. In some individuals, symptoms have been known to last two years or more. Up to a third of individuals with long COVID have persistent symptoms of cognitive impairment, affecting memory, attention, concentration, and other cognitive domains. These cognitive impairments can have profound impacts on an individual's life, affecting relationships, jobs, and normal daily activities.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health

A network analysis study on Chinese university students demonstrated the relationships between COVID-19 related stressors, psychopathological symptoms, perceived social support, and COVID-19 infection history. The study suggested that specific interventions targeting interpersonal conflicts and concentration problems, as well as facilitating stress-buffering effects of social support, may represent effective strategies to reduce psychological distress during COVID-19.

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The Relationship between Pre-existing Mental Health Conditions and Post COVID-19 Condition

Another study examined the association of prior mental health diagnoses with the onset of Post COVID-19 condition (PCC). The study found that mental disorders, anxiety, depression, and somatoform disorders were associated with higher risks for PCC. The study analyzed ambulatory claims data from the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians of Bavaria to investigate the association of frequent psychosomatic and pre-existing psychiatric diagnoses with a PCC diagnosis in patients infected with SARS CoV-2.

COVID-19, Mental Health, and Insomnia

Dr. Hoang's study highlighted the need for a holistic approach to tackle factors contributing to insomnia and called for further investigation into the relationship between COVID-19, mental health problems, and insomnia. Pre-existing chronic conditions and high levels of depression or anxiety were associated with higher rates of insomnia. The findings underscore the importance of addressing mental health issues in the context of COVID-19 recovery and managing long-term symptoms.

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