Long Covid: The ‘disturbed sleep patterns’ which can occur – do you have long Covid?

Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus

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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “Everyone’s experience is different, so it’s important to chat to your GP about the symptoms you are experiencing. They can tell you how to best manage them, and let you know what other support is available.” NHS Inform says during any illness it’s common to sleep more as your body fights the infection. Nonetheless, it also notes that while you’re recovering, it’s “common to have disturbed sleep patterns”.

It says you should speak to your GP practice if:

  • Your sleep problems are not improving
  • You’re worried about your symptoms
  • You’re worried about possible long COVID symptoms in a child or young person under 18.

The health body also says there are things you can do to help get back to a better sleeping pattern.

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For example, breathing and relaxation exercises can help to improve your sleep.The NHS says there are also lots of other symptoms you can have after a COVID-19 infection.

It states common long COVID symptoms include:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus, earaches
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • Rashes.

The NHS says how long it takes to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody.

It explains: “Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer.”The NHS advice on long Covid says people who are recovering from an illness often report feeling a little better each day, and it can take time to fully recover.

It says: “With long Covid you may feel fatigued after activities which were not previously difficult to cope with and this can affect your quality of life and ability to function as you did previously. This is more likely to occur at the end of the day or at the end of a busy week.”

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says there is lots of evidence that having the vaccine reduces your risk of developing long Covid.

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The charity adds: “There is growing evidence that getting the vaccine could reduce long Covid in people who caught the virus before they were vaccinated. We are still learning more about this and what the reasons for it might be.”

The BHF also explains that long Covid is not contagious, and symptoms are caused by your body’s response to the virus continuing beyond the initial illness.

Moreover, it says having long Covid symptoms won’t cause you to test positive.

It says: “To avoid passing coronavirus on to others, you should self-isolate for 10 days from your original symptoms or positive test, or if after 10 days you still have a temperature, or runny nose or sneezing, or sickness or diarrhoea, until these symptoms have gone.”

The Mayo Clinic adds that much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time, but research is ongoing.

It says: “Researchers recommend that doctors closely monitor people who have had COVID-19 to see how their organs are functioning after recovery.”

The BHF says long Covid clinics are being rolled out across England and have started in Wales to help those struggling with ongoing symptoms.

It says: “Speak to your GP or healthcare professional to find out if you are being referred.”

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