Things feel very up in the air right now, and this uncertainty is affecting the way we sleep
The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on practically every aspect of daily life. From healthcare to work to family life, for most of us things have been turned on their heads.
And one way in which the spread of COVID-19 is impacting a lot of us is through our sleep.
This isn’t surprising, as the consequences of the virus spread have created a cocktail of circumstances that many of us will find hugely detrimental to a good night’s rest. From a lack of natural light exposure and a lack of exercise to stress and anxiety, there’s a whole host of reasons why you might be struggling with your sleep right now.
All of these factors work together to make getting to sleep and staying asleep harder, which is why it’s all the more important to give some thought and TLC to your night-time routine.
Make the effort to get natural light
We’ve been told to stay inside as much as possible during this time, as it’s an important and necessary step in slowing the spread of the virus. However, it also makes it difficult to get adequate exposure to natural light (particularly for those without any outdoor space at home) and this can make it difficult for our body clocks to stay in sync. This can have a negative impact on your sleep cycle as your body struggles to send the usual ‘bedtime’ signals in the evening.
Try to take your daily dose of outside time when the sun is shining, and make sure you have the curtains open when stuck inside. Even just standing by the window in the sunshine for a few minutes can have a positive impact.
Split your work and rest time
When you have to physically ‘go to work’ every day, it’s easy to separate your work and personal life. But this becomes more difficult when you’re working from home – it’s all too easy for the lines between work and family time to become blurred.
You need to send yourself clear signals about when it’s time to work and when it’s time to rest. Create a designated workspace, make the effort to get dressed, and stick to clear working hours rather than just dipping in and out of things.
Stick to your usual mealtimes
Don’t fall into the trap of becoming an all-day grazer. Try your hardest to stick to regular mealtimes in order to keep your body on a schedule.
You should also be wary of what you’re eating as well as when you’re eating it. Being at home could make you more prone to comfort foods with more sugar and fat, but these alongside stimulants such as caffeine could make falling asleep harder, especially if consumed later in the day.
Introduce a tech curfew
Don’t give into the temptation to work late and try to stay off social media for at least an hour before you go to bed. Not only do screen lights negatively impact your brain’s release of vital sleep hormones, but spending long periods of time on social media has been shown time and time again to increase stress and anxiety levels.
Try to set a curfew on your phone and laptop use, giving your brain a chance to settle down before going to bed. Try taking up something more relaxing before sleep, such as meditation or reading, in order to help yourself relax even more.