Managing Stress and Sleeplessness During COVID-19
Seems like we’re now in another phase of stress and sleeplessness due to the coronavirus. Now – with states reopening decisions about whether to go out, where to go, what to do is part of our new daily lives.
As the country continues to fight its battle against COVID-19, stress and sleep deprivation are taking their toll on the nation’s population:
Insomnia is already something that affects 30% of the American population during normal circumstances. With the added stress associated with the societal and economic uncertainties surrounding the global pandemic, these numbers will be naturally enhanced.
More than four in ten adults overall (45%) feel that worry and stress related to coronavirus has had a negative impact on their mental health.
Many others aren’t getting the much-needed exercise they’re used to and are searching for ways to stay fit while staying at home.
Tens of thousands of U.S. Army Soldiers and civilians are serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response effort, applying their diverse and in-demand skillsets to some of the most essential public needs in hotspots around the country.
As part of their mission, it is important that Soldiers and civilians alike follow essential best practices to reduce stress and minimize potential sleep disruption —two of the most common side effects of high-stress environments. The practices that they have employed to maintain a healthy workforce can be likewise implemented by the general population as we collectively work through these trying months.
Captain Allison Brager, an Army Neuroscientist and member of the Army Warrior Fitness Team – who is also currently serving on the frontlines in New York – joined me to share tips for relieving stress, maintaining a normal sleep cycle and staying fit in isolation. This advice was particularly useful to Capt. Brager and her colleagues when she was recently deployed to the Javits Center in New York City to aid in the fight against COVID-19 as it peaked in that community..
About our Guest
CPT Allison Brager was born in Youngstown, Ohio and was her class valedictorian of Youngstown-Boardman High School. CPT Brager direct commissioned into the Army in March 2017 in order to support sleep and human performance research & development portfolios as one of the few active duty neuroscientists. Prior to the Army, she was a research professor at Morehouse School of Medicine and Morehouse College — part of the historically black college & university system and where Martin Luther King, Jr was educated — in Atlanta, GA. In the Army, she has served as Chief of the Sleep Research Center at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. She sits on fatigue management working groups for the Office of the Army Surgeon General, the United States government, and NATO.
CPT Brager has a distinguished athletic career. In high school, she was one of the first female pole vaulters for the state of Ohio and the former state indoor record holder in the pole vault and a two-time All Ohioan at the state track and field tournament. At Brown University, she was a four year varsity letterman earning All-Ivy League honors. In Crossfit, Brager competed in the 2013 and 2015 Reebok Crossfit Games on a team out of Atlanta, GA and competed in Crossfit Regionals as an individual in 2012 and 2014. In 2018, she won 8 gold medals and 1 silver medal in track and field at the Gay Olympics held in Paris, France.
Her military awards include a Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Achievement Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster.