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How COVID can disturb your sleep and dreams – and what could help

If you’ve had trouble sleeping during or after a COVID infection, you’re not alone.


By the end of 2022, more than 650 million COVID infections had been reported to the World Health Organization. With the true number likely much higher, and the tally increasing by hundreds of thousands every week, the scientific community has been focused on understanding the impact of COVID on our physical health, mental health and brain function.

In the early stage of the pandemic, sleep scientists charted the costs and benefits of lockdowns on sleep patterns. The main finding was that we slept more in lockdown but the quality of our sleep was worse.

Now a second wave of data is beginning to explain how becoming infected with COVID is affecting our sleep and even intruding into our dreams.

Read more: How a lack of sleep affects your brain – and personality

The most recent meta-analysis, a review of all the currently available scientific literature, estimates that 52% of people who contract COVID suffer from sleep disturbances during the infection.

The most common type of sleep disturbance reported is insomnia. People with insomnia typically find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, and often wake up early in the mornings.

Worryingly, sleep problems sometimes persist even after recovery from the infection. A study in China found that 26% of people who were admitted to hospital with COVID showed symptoms of insomnia two weeks after discharge.

And a US study showed that people who had been infected with COVID were more likely than people who had never been infected to have trouble sleeping, even up to a month after a positive COVID test.

Sleep difficulties and long COVID

While most people recover from COVID quickly, some continue to have symptoms in the longer term. People suffering from long COVID seem very likely to face persistent sleep problems.

A 2021 study surveyed more than 3,000 people with long COVID. Almost 80% of participants self-reported sleep problems, most commonly insomnia.

A more recent study collected data on both sleep duration and quality using smart wristbands. Participants with long COVID slept less overall and got less deep sleep than participants who had never had COVID.

Loss of deep sleep is particularly concerning, as this type of sleep reduces how tired we feel and strengthens concentration and memory. Lack of deep sleep may be partly responsible for the commonly reported “brain fog” during and after COVID.

The fact COVID often interferes with sleep is also worrying because sleep helps our immune system to fight infections.

Why does COVID affect our sleep?

There are many reasons why a COVID infection might lead to poor sleep. One review identified physiological, psychological and environmental factors.

COVID can have a direct impact on the brain, including the areas that control both wake and sleep states. We don’t yet have a clear understanding of how this works, but possible mechanisms could include the virus infecting the central nervous system or affecting the brain’s blood supply.

Typical symptoms of COVID include fever, coughing and breathing difficulties. These are also well known to disturb sleep.

A man lies awake in bed. A clock on the bedside table shows 2:04.
Scientists are studying how COVID affects our sleep. amenic181/Shutterstock

Poor mental health can lead to sleep problems and vice versa. There’s a strong link between catching COVID and mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety. This can be caused by worries about recovery, loneliness or social isolation. Such anxieties may make sleeping harder.

Meanwhile, hospitalised COVID patients can face additional difficulties trying to sleep in busy hospital environments where sleep is often disturbed by noise, treatment and other patients.

What about dreams?

The International COVID-19 Sleep Study, a global research project involving sleep scientists from 14 countries, recently released its findings into dreaming.

The study surveyed infected and uninfected participants about their dreams. Both groups had more dreams after the start of the pandemic than before. Intriguingly, the infected participants had more nightmares than the uninfected participants, while there was no difference between the groups before the pandemic.

There’s no simple explanation for why catching COVID may increase nightmares, but mental health may again play a role. Poor mental health is often accompanied by nightmares. The International COVID-19 Sleep Study team found the infected group showed more symptoms of conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Read more: Why do we dream?

Getting help

The close links between sleep and both mental and physical health mean that prevention and treatment of disturbed sleep have never been more important, and will require creative solutions from governments and healthcare providers.

If you’ve had trouble sleeping during or after COVID, or are having more bad dreams than you used to, you’re not alone.

Both short- and long-term insomnia can often be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that you may be able to access through your doctor.

For less severe sleep problems, the European Academy for Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Insomnia has compiled recommendations, some based on principles applied in CBT, that you can follow at home. These include:

  • keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule
  • restricting thinking about things that make you feel stressed to specific times of day
  • using your bed only for sleep and sex
  • going to bed and getting up when you naturally feel inclined to do so
  • sharing feelings of stress and anxiety with family and friends
  • reducing sleep disruption due to light exposure by making sure your bedroom is as dark as possible
  • exercising regularly in daylight
  • avoiding eating close to bedtime.

Jakke Tamminen has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council and The Waterloo Foundation.

Rebecca Crowley does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Fighting the Surveillance State Begins with the Individual

It’s a well-known fact at this point that in the United States and most of the so-called free countries that there is a robust surveillance state in…



It’s a well-known fact at this point that in the United States and most of the so-called free countries that there is a robust surveillance state in place, collecting data on the entire populace. This has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by people like Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who exposed that the NSA was conducting mass surveillance on US citizens and the world as a whole. The NSA used applications like those from Prism Systems to piggyback on corporations and the data collection their users had agreed to in the terms of service. Google would scan all emails sent to a Gmail address to use for personalized advertising. The government then went to these companies and demanded the data, and this is what makes the surveillance state so interesting. Neo-Marxists like Shoshana Zuboff have dubbed this “surveillance capitalism.” In China, the mass surveillance is conducted at a loss. Setting up closed-circuit television cameras and hiring government workers to be a mandatory editorial staff for blogs and social media can get quite expensive. But if you parasitically leech off a profitable business practice it means that the surveillance state will turn a profit, which is a great asset and an even greater weakness for the system. You see, when that is what your surveillance state is predicated on you’ve effectively given your subjects an opt-out button. They stop using services that spy on them. There is software and online services that are called “open source,” which refers to software whose code is publicly available and can be viewed by anyone so that you can see exactly what that software does. The opposite of this, and what you’re likely already familiar with, is proprietary software. Open-source software generally markets itself as privacy respecting and doesn’t participate in data collection. Services like that can really undo the tricky situation we’ve found ourselves in. It’s a simple fact of life that when the government is given a power—whether that be to regulate, surveil, tax, or plunder—it is nigh impossible to wrestle it away from the state outside somehow disposing of the state entirely. This is why the issue of undoing mass surveillance is of the utmost importance. If the government has the power to spy on its populace, it will. There are people, like the creators of The Social Dilemma, who think that the solution to these privacy invasions isn’t less government but more government, arguing that data collection should be taxed to dissuade the practice or that regulation needs to be put into place to actively prevent abuses. This is silly to anyone who understands the effect regulations have and how the internet really works. You see, data collection is necessary. You can’t have email without some elements of data collection because it’s simply how the protocol functions. The issue is how that data is stored and used. A tax on data collection itself will simply become another cost of doing business. A large company like Google can afford to pay a tax. But a company like Proton Mail, a smaller, more privacy-respecting business, likely couldn’t. Proton Mail’s business model is based on paid subscriptions. If there were additional taxes imposed on them, it’s possible that they would not be able to afford the cost and would be forced out of the market. To reiterate, if one really cares about the destruction of the surveillance state, the first step is to personally make changes to how you interact with online services and to whom you choose to give your data.

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Stock Market Today: Stocks turn higher as Treasury yields retreat; big tech earnings up next

A pullback in Treasury yields has stocks moving higher Monday heading into a busy earnings week and a key 2-year bond auction later on Tuesday.



Updated at 11:52 am EDT U.S. stocks turned higher Monday, heading into the busiest earnings week of the year on Wall Street, amid a pullback in Treasury bond yields that followed the first breach of 5% for 10-year notes since 2007. Investors, however, continue to track developments in Israel's war with Hamas, which launched its deadly attack from Gaza three weeks ago, as leaders around the region, and the wider world, work to contain the fighting and broker at least a form of cease-fire. Humanitarian aid is also making its way into Gaza, through the territory's border with Egypt, as officials continue to work for the release of more than 200 Israelis taken hostage by Hamas during the October 7 attack. Those diplomatic efforts eased some of the market's concern in overnight trading, but the lingering risk that regional adversaries such as Iran, or even Saudi Arabia, could be drawn into the conflict continues to blunt risk appetite. Still, the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies and acts as the safe-haven benchmark in times of market turmoil, fell 0.37% in early New York trading 105.773, suggesting some modest moves into riskier assets. The Japanese yen, however, eased past the 150 mark in overnight dealing, a level that has some traders awaiting intervention from the Bank of Japan and which may have triggered small amounts of dollar sales and yen purchases. In the bond market, benchmark 10-year note yields breached the 5% mark in overnight trading, after briefly surpassing that level late last week for the first time since 2007, but were last seen trading at 4.867% ahead of $141 billion in 2-year, 5-year and 7-year note auctions later this week. Global oil prices were also lower, following two consecutive weekly gains that has take Brent crude, the global pricing benchmark, firmly past $90 a barrel amid supply disruption concerns tied to the middle east conflict. Brent contracts for December delivery were last seen $1.06 lower on the session at $91.07 per barrel while WTI futures contract for the same month fell $1.36 to $86.72 per barrel. Market volatility gauges were also active, with the CBOE Group's VIX index hitting a fresh seven-month high of $23.08 before easing to $20.18 later in the session. That level suggests traders are expecting ranges on the S&P 500 of around 1.26%, or 53 points, over the next month. A busy earnings week also indicates the likelihood of elevated trading volatility, with 158 S&P 500 companies reporting third quarter earnings over the next five days, including mega cap tech names such as Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Free Report, retail and cloud computing giant Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report and Facebook owner Meta Platforms  (META) - Get Free Report. "It’s shaping up to be a big week for the market and it comes as the S&P 500 is testing a key level—the four-month low it set earlier this month," said Chris Larkin, managing director for trading and investing at E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley. "How the market responds to that test may hinge on sentiment, which often plays a larger-than-average role around this time of year," he added. "And right now, concerns about rising interest rates and geopolitical turmoil have the potential to exacerbate the market’s swings." Heading into the middle of the trading day on Wall Street, the S&P 500, which is down 8% from its early July peak, the highest of the year, was up 10 points, or 0.25%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which slumped into negative territory for the year last week, was marked 10 points lower while the Nasdaq, which fell 4.31% last week, was up 66 points, or 0.51%. In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 was marked 0.11% lower by the close of Frankfurt trading, with markets largely tracking U.S. stocks as well as the broader conflict in Israel. In Asia, a  slump in China stocks took the benchmark CSI 300 to a fresh 2019 low and pulled the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan 0.72% lower into the close of trading.
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iPhone Maker Foxconn Investigated By Chinese Authorities

Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that manufactures iPhones on behalf of Apple (AAPL), is being investigated by Chinese authorities, according to multiple…



Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that manufactures iPhones on behalf of Apple (AAPL), is being investigated by Chinese authorities, according to multiple media reports. Foxconn’s business has been searched by Chinese authorities and China’s main tax authority has conducted inspections of Foxconn’s manufacturing operations in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu. At the same time, China’s natural-resources department has begun onsite investigations into Foxconn’s land use in Henan and Hubei provinces within China. Foxconn has manufacturing facilities focused on Apple products in three of the Chinese provinces where authorities are carrying out searches. While headquartered in Taiwan, Foxconn has a huge manufacturing presence in China and is a large employer in the nation of 1.4 billion people. The investigations suggest that China is ramping up pressure on the company as Foxconn considers major investments in India, and as presidential elections approach in Taiwan. Foxconn founder Terry Gou said in August of this year that he intends to run for the Taiwanese presidency. He has resigned from the company’s board of directors but continues to hold a 12.5% stake in the company. Gou is currently in fourth place in the polls ahead of the election that is scheduled to be held in January 2024. The potential impact on Apple and its iPhone manufacturing comes amid rising political tensions between politicians in Washington, D.C. and Beijing. Apple’s stock has risen 16% over the last 12 months and currently trades at $172.88 U.S. per share.  

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