There are days when it is natural to experience anxiety and sleep problems given the immediate and concrete danger of the coronavirus pandemic at personal, national and even international levels. Given the threat of the coronavirus and its swift and widespread disturbance to our everyday lives, all of us are in a position to regulate our actions and lessen its lethal impact on our sleep. In the short term, improved sleep helps us to better handle difficult periods, reduces our risk of having chronic sleep disorders in the longer term, and provides a boost to our immune system.
Let us have a look at the strategies to bolster sleep as we dig into this topic below!
- Maintain a consistent routine:
Wake up at the same time every day during the week. A periodic wake time helps set the internal clock of the body. Keep to a daily routine for food, exercise, and other tasks in addition to sleep. This could be a different timeline than you are used to, and that's all right. Pay attention to the cues of your body and find a pattern that fits for you and that during this "new normal" you will retain.
- Switch to a comfy sleep environment:
Sleeping is ideal in a calm, peaceful, and soothing dark space. The perfect atmosphere for sleeping is calm, quiet, and dim. With enough efforts, even night shift employees can sustain such an atmosphere. Stop glaring at laptops or televisions when the time is close enough to go to your bed. Although we think about getting dressed as something we do for our daytime affairs, it is also important to dress appropriately every night to get under our covers, as what you wear will make a huge difference to the quality of sleep.
- Minimize stress:
A decent time to practice any relaxing exercises, such as deep breathing or yoga, is often the evening and bedtime hours. For bedtime meditation, there are several free tools available. Activities that turn on the normal calming reflex of the body feel fantastic. And they have been shown to enhance sleep by studies. They assist by reducing the release of cortisol and adrenaline stress hormones and by slowing the heart rate and breathing.
- Blackout the electronic devices:
It is harder for your brain to turn off mobile phones, tablets, and all electronic devices, and the light (even dim light) from the devices can delay the release of the hormone melatonin, interfering with your body's clock. If you need something to watch to help you unwind, it's usually okay for a short period to watch something that you find soothing on TV from far away and outside the bedroom. You may also use a book to curl up, or listen to music.
- Stick to cotton:
Cotton is the best sleeping medium by far, suitable because it is a thin, fluffy and supportive natural fiber. In addition, it helps the skin to relax and, especially if the fabric is loose fitting, is much less likely to cause skin irritation or rashes. If cotton is not for you, than other fabrics are suitable substitutes, such as silk or bamboo cloth.
As we see disrupted sleep is a natural reaction to stress, and when you adapt to new habits and major adjustments to your job and personal life, it is okay to have a few nights of bad sleep. But you can sustain your sleep and maximize your well-being during these uncertain periods with some basic steps. Right now, we can't control what's happening in the world, so we can control our actions and dampen the effect on our sleep of the coming pandemic.