Just a few of the odd pandemic ailments causing our coronasomnia
I’ve dealt with perils of maskne, been troubled about the effects of skin hunger, and fretted over the infamous “quarantine fifteen.”
(OK — Who am I kidding? It’s more like 20 or 25. My muffin top is now a seven-layer cake.)
But nothing could prepare me for the headline accosting me during my early morning social media scroll:
Holy Heinies Batman!
My cheeks clenched in alarm, I had to investigate this menacing malady.
Dead Butt Syndrome (DBS), technically known as Gluteus Medius Tendinopathy (GMT), a.k.a. Dormant Buttocks Syndrome, a.k.a. Gluteal Amnesia is a real affliction and it’s spreading across America.
Our hours of prolonged sitting have caused our posterior muscles to weaken, misfire, or simply forget how to work, causing tingling, numbness, and/or pain. Left untreated, it can lead to hip, lower back, and leg pain.
Our dearly departed derrieres are sleeping off the pandemic like Rip Van Winkle.
Greatly unnerved, I decided to research what other odd conditions we could expect to encounter as a result of over a year in isolation.
Tearing our hair out
We’ve all laughed at the quarantine haircuts gone wrong memes. Chuckled at the home dye jobs that looked like they were done by Jackson Pollock instead of Vidal Sassoon. (My son cajoled me into cutting his hair. He wanted a tight fade. He got a cockeyed zigzag.)
But did you know pandemic stress is freaking our follicles out?
Our hair cycle has three phases: growth, transitional, and resting. When we experience a shock to our system — be it physical, emotional, or both, our bodies react by keeping more and more hairs in the resting phase. Stunted, they eventually throw in the towel and fall out.
Physicians across the country are seeing a huge increase in patients reporting excessive hair loss. Our lives have been uprooted and our manes are following suit.
It’s no wonder our couches are looking like Chia Pets.
Ew! What’s that smell?!
Chances are — it’s you.
Have you noticed a peculiar funk following you around lately? Do you keep cleaning out your pantry searching for that forgotten potato you’re sure has begun to rot? Blame it on pandemic body odor.
There are two main culprits contributing to our musty auras; the first being the quarantine Big Stinky Cheese: Yep, stress.
Humans produce two types of sweat: Normal, everyday sweat to regulate temperature and stress sweat — a thick, viscous secretion that foul-smelling bacteria love to feast upon.
This brings me to the second culprit: Our microbiomes — the mix of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on our skin — are transforming. Each of us carries a unique microbe “cocktail” that’s affected by every living thing we come into contact with — including pets.
In our pre-pandemic life, we interacted with dozens of people on a weekly basis. Now the social life of our epidermis squatters has been greatly diminished. We may be missing our daily organism exchange with the person who added just the right amount of zing to our zest.
When we’re hunkered down with a select few, their concentrated condiments can make our microbial parties a little too pungent for our delicate senses.
If we used to waft a slight scent of G&T with extra lime (yes, it’s my go-to beverage, in case anyone is interested), we may now reek like a garlic and brussel sprout smoothie.
Tossing and Turning
A recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that Google searches for insomnia rose 58% percent during the first five months of 2020.
Lisa Medalie, PsyD, CBSM, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist, has dubbed the phenomenon coronasomnia. She cites our favorite party crasher — stress — as a primary cause of our restless nights:
“People seem stuck with their minds racing about finances, homeschooling, work challenges, health fears, uncertainty, and struggling to transition into and back to sleep,” she explained to Healthline.
Now we’ve added sluggish tushies, shedding tresses, and malodorous biomes to the worry tilt-a-whirl hindering our slumber.
Experts assure us we can reanimate our defunct fannies, our molting is only temporary, and there are ways to alter our body odor to a fragrance that won’t make our eyes water.
Many advise employing new coping strategies to mitigate stress and improve our sleep.
Call me jaded, but I am exasperated with the ceaseless self-help articles and news segments that only serve to point out how topsy-turvy our lives have become. It’s been nearly 9000 hours of persistent tension. My battery is drained. My circuits are fried.
But then again — maybe it’s time to get my rear in gear: Don a cute hat and lather on some deodorant.
Perhaps I’ll take a cue from Sleeping Beauty and find a vaccinated Prince Charming to kiss my ass and wake that puppy up.
Maybe then I can catch some z’s.