Don’t Lose Sleep Over The COVID-19 Pandemic: 6 Tips To Sleep Better
Is COVID-19 resulting in you catching more stress than Zzz’s? Reports have shown that the worldwide pandemic and various national lockdowns are increasing levels of stress and anxiety. This often leads to disturbed sleep patterns. Sleep is an important element of staying physically and mentally healthy. Let’s make sure you’re getting quality sleep.
Sleep is underrated. We don’t actually realise how important it is and how much it can benefit our overall wellbeing. During these uncertain times, it’s easy for our sleep patterns to become a distant memory (8 hours of sleep, for who?).
Stress keeps us up at night and our change in routine (hello cabin fever, our old fiend) has us sleeping in later.
And who can blame you? When you don’t have an early morning meeting to attend, or traffic to sit in, why not watch series all night and sleep in a little later? However, as we all well know but sometimes forget to put into practice, it’s important to make sleep one of your top priorities. Here’s how you can get better sleep.
Why sleep matters
Sleep keeps you healthy both physically and mentally. It was one of those subtle superpowers - seriously, sleep is a real superpower. There’s a huge difference when you wake up after having a night of quality sleep, and you feel ready for the day compared to when you feel as though not enough caffeine in the world could help you respond to all the emails in your inbox, and is that a ringing noise in your ears? Oh, the joys of sleep deprivation.
Here are just a few benefits of getting enough sleep:
- Sleep reduces stress
- Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity
- Poor sleep is linked to depression
- Sleep improves your immune function
6 Tips For Better Sleep - These really work!
1. Maintain a regular routine
The pandemic and quarantine have completely changed many of our routines. Some of us have lost jobs, some of us are juggling work, kids and health. There is a lot going on right now, and when times are stressful and feel a little strange, sleep typically takes a backseat
No matter how your life has been affected, it’s of the utmost importance to keep a regular routine in order to get good sleep.
If you’re working from home, get up at the same time that you normally would for work, have a shower (or do some exercise first) and get dressed.
You might just be going to the next room or working from your bedroom, but just have that same sense of routine and normalcy, which will help you feel less disrupted.
2. Don’t nap excessively (even though it’s tempting)
While in quarantine or working from home, the bedroom or couch might end up calling your name (a little too much). We have often found ourselves switching on the TV when we should be switching on our laptops - #guilty!
Adding to the importance of establishing a routine for yourself, make sure you’re not napping excessively, as this can even make you sleepier and it can affect your sleep pattern.
When you feel the urge to nap, try to replace it with a more productive activity. Like yoga, reading or even phoning a family member.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with a 20 minute power nap if you need one, some big entrepreneurs swear about power napping, but just don’t let this nap turn into a 2 hour snooze fest!
Speaking of a snooze fest, when your alarm goes off in the morning, don’t press snooze! In fact, snoozing your alarm can make you feel even more exhausted when you wake up in the morning because when you close your eyes, this is not quality sleep. You’re just resting until the next alarm goes off.
3. Get some exercise
Yes, the gyms are closed, but exercise should still be part of your daily life. Daily exercise is still just as important, especially for sleep.
Social distancing and stay-at-home orders may have you feeling that your options are more limited, but there are a number of ways you can effectively exercise without leaving your home.
Make use of the 6-9 am exercise time and go for a run or a walk, try some yoga or try this at-home workout.
4. Structure your news intake
It’s nearly impossible to escape the constant distressing flow of COVID-19 news and the influx of information. It’s great to keep up to date but excessively reading and consuming the news will impact your stress and anxiety levels.
It would be beneficial to rather schedule and structure the times when you check your phone for news updates throughout the date. Try to limit how many times per day you check your phone, and for how long, to read news related to the pandemic.
5. Limit blue light exposure before bedtime
The internet has proved to be an invaluable tool for communication and entertainment during this time for people across the world.
However, staring at a screen all day is not helpful when you’re trying to fall asleep.
We do recommend that at least an hour before sleep, you should try to unplug and not watch TV, put your phone away, and avoid anything that might make you feel stressed.
Rather read, listen to music or even journal before bed.
Speaking of technology before bed, it’s a good idea to leave your phone in another room or turn it on flight mode to prevent any late-night emails or messages (even if they are from your caring grandmother asking when you are going to visit her again) keeping you awake at night.
6. Avoid high levels of caffeine
Caffeine is great (we love a cup or two or three…) but it can increase energy levels and can cause anxiety to spike.
When consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night.
Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping.
If you do crave a cup of coffee in the late afternoon or evening, it might be better to stick with decaffeinated coffee.
Taking care of your mental health is also vital to helping your mind relax and ensuring you get uninterrupted sleep. Take a look at these 7 lessons to lockdown mental health.
Your health isn’t only about if you’re sick or not, taking care of your mind, body and soul all contribute to your overall well being. Make sure you’re taking care of you (and we’re here too for any help you may need).
Yours in affordable and quality health insurance,