Coronavirus anxiety bad for sleep: expert

Clocks will be turned back one hour on Sunday in Victoria, NSW, the ACT, SA and Tasmania.
Clocks will be turned back one hour on Sunday in Victoria, NSW, the ACT, SA and Tasmania.

Sleep may be hard to come by for people during the coronavirus pandemic but many will get an extra hour of it on Sunday as daylight saving ends.

Stress and anxiety during uncertain times can leave many Australians experiencing disturbed sleeping patterns, with job losses and mortgages weighing down on them, leading to a cycle of restlessness.

"It's a little bit of a catch-22 where poor sleep and of course tiredness during the daytime tend to feed the anxiety and make sleep more difficult. So it's a bit of a vicious cycle there," the Sleep Health Foundation's David Hillman told AAP.

Professor Hillman says disturbed fear and anxiety from unknown factors can keep people up at night, affecting a person's daytime functioning including decision making and can lead to people feeling moodier and less vigilant.

But he says reducing worry by talking about our issues with others or taking some time out to unwind can be an antidote to the problem.

"Often it's a case of talking about your concerns with others and getting their advice but bottling these things up is the enemy of resolution," Prof Hillman said.

Keeping a routine during times of uncertainty can also help people experiencing poor sleep to get a better night's rest.

"There's a whole lot of lifestyle things which is in a bit of disarray at the moment but if you allow that disarray, then sleep is adversely affected," Prof Hillman said.

Clocks will be turned back one hour on Sunday from 3am in Victoria, NSW, the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania.

Australian Associated Press