If your sleep has taken a turn for the worse lately, you’re not alone. We’re dealing with a loss of routine and a lot of anxiety. With worries about the virus, loved ones, money and work … we’re stressed and stretched thin.
Sleep is a foundation of well-being.
It’s needed for physical health, a strong immune system, and coping with emotions and mood. If you’ve felt your fuse go off sooner than usual, consider it extra evidence that sleep matters!
We urge you to take some small steps to try to protect your sleep.
First, think about why you might be sleeping poorly. Right now, it could be due to…
- Stress and anxiety
- Lots of news and time in front of screens
- A loss of schedule (working less, or more, or focused on different things like homeschooling)
- Not getting your usual exercise or light exposure
Or maybe all of the above. But once you consider the reasons, you can take steps in the right direction.
Good sleep guidelines (pandemic or no!)
- Keep a sleep schedule. Wake up at the same time, and go to bed at the same time, too. It trains your body.
- Limit time in bed. Don’t go to bed before you’re sleepy. And get up if you’re lying there awake. This trains your mind.
- Mind what you eat and drink. Aim for balanced, nutritious meals. Avoid caffeine after mid-day, and alcohol in the hours before bed.
- Get exercise outside, if possible. We know you’re limited right now. If you can, go for a walk or engage in outdoor exercise in the morning or daytime. The light helps your body clock. And early morning outings make it easier to social distance.
Manage stress and screens
- Build in meditation before bed. Or whatever winds you down: reading, a crossword, reflecting on something you’re grateful for. Try meditation and stress-relief during the day, too.
- Stop getting news at night. There is such a thing as too much news. At night, there’s nothing for you to do with this information. Let it go. Sleep is your priority at night.
- Avoid screens before bed. The blue light that screens give off actually tells your brain to wake up. Stop using your phone, laptop, and TV an hour before bed.
- Limit social media and app use. It’s so easy to lose hours to your phone. Some apps can be set to turn off after a certain amount of use.
If you’re really struggling, this isn’t something you need to suffer through. Consider using telemedicine or contact your doctor and find out if you can get help over email or phone. Take good care of yourself.
Greater Good Magazine. How to Keep Coronavirus Worries from Disrupting Your Sleep.
MedScape. Sleep in the Time of COVID-19.
Sleep Foundation. Sleep Guidelines During the COVID -19 Pandemic.
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