With the arrival of Coronavirus (COVID-19), there are various changes the humans and earth have been experiencing. Various levels of lockdowns have been imposed in multiple countries and stay-at-home orders are being followed. With all these unprecedented changes, it is essential to look after your health. Sleep is an integral part of your immune system and it promotes your mental and physical well-being.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, there are various people who have developed problems related to their sleep cycle. Following are some of the steps that will help you deal with it.
What Are The Challenges To Sleep In The Midst Of A Pandemic?
There are multiple problems faced by people during this pandemic. The problems may differ in their nature; however, the consequence is the same- COVID insomnia. There are millions of people who are suffering from COVID-19 insomnia. Following are some of the causes:
Changes In Daily Routine
School closure, quarantine, work-from-home and social distancing have made huge changes in the daily routine of people belonging to different age groups. Since nobody has a proper schedule during these times, it gets difficult to maintain a routine. There is no track of time as typical time anchors like arriving at the office, dropping kids at school, going to the gym etc. are missing. There are various people whose work hours have decreased due to the pandemic. This tempts them to sleep more and causes them to feel annoyed throughout the day.
Anxiety And Worry
Anxiety and worry came as a part and parcel of COVID-19. People fear getting infected by the virus as neither do they want to get sick and nor do they want to become a source of problem for their family and friends. Most people are surrounded by family or friends that fall in the high-risk group which further alleviates their anxiety and causes Coronavirus sleeplessness.
Another reason behind the anxiety is the economic challenge. Humans all across the world are striving to make ends meet in this time of uncertainty. The thought of an unpredictable future makes them toss and turn throughout the night.
Depression And Isolation
Depression and isolation are those issues that may get triggered due to quarantine. It may get worse for people who have a loved one suffering from the virus. Depression and grief can be inflamed at home and both are potential causes of quarantine insomnia.
Apart from insomnia, depression can lead to increased consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
Work And Family Stress
People who have huge families are under stress during the ongoing condition. Managing work from home, making sure that kids are taking their online classes, not meeting your friends or family, etc can generate a lot of stress. This stress becomes a significant barrier to a good night's sleep.
Excessive Screen Time
Whether it is taking online classes, binge-watching Netflix, using social media or talking to friends or family, social-distancing has caused the increased use of screen time.
Excess screen time has negative impacts on our sleep cycle. The bright light that radiates from the screen can decrease the production of melatonin which helps us go to sleep.
The stress of living in this uncertain time has caused various problems including digestive issues, memory lapses and persistent headaches. Stress-related fatigue is another common problem.
Why Is Sleep Essential During The On-Going Pandemic?
Sleep is a significant biological process and without any doubt its importance has increased in the on-going pandemic. This time demands a person to be mentally, physically and emotionally strong and your sleep cycle has a lot to do with it.
A good sleep cycle boosts your immune system. It strengthens the defense system of your body and prepares you for an active day. According to some researches, insomnia can make a few vaccines less effective. A good sleep improves the functions of your brain and helps you in decision making and complex thinking. It also helps you in staying sharp throughout the day.
Coronavirus and insomnia both have caused people to suffer from drastic mood changes. Getting a good night's sleep will enhance their mood and energy. It will also improve their mental health and protect them from various mental health disorders. Experts are of the opinion that high-quality and consistent sleep improves every aspect of life.
Guidelines To Sleeping Better During The On-Going Pandemic
Despite all the challenges, there are certain steps that will help you in getting a good night's sleep. People who are tired of sleepless nights should follow these fast recovery tips to get rid of the problem. These tips may work immediately on some people, while on others they may take some time to show results.
Set Your Routine
Having a routine will give you a sense of normalcy in this weird situation. It is easier for your mind to respond to a schedule rather than a varied sleep routine. Your schedule should have three important steps:
Wake-Up Time: Set your alarm and wake up at fixed time.
Wind-Down Time: During this time you can relax and get involved in things like meditating, reading, etc.
Bed-Time: Choose a time and make sure you try to sleep at that time.
Apart from this, some daily routine tasks like bathing, getting dressed, eating meals on time, etc may help as well.
Keep Your Bed For Sleep
You should reserve your bed for sleep only so that your mind creates an association between sleep and bed. It is recommended that while you are working or watching a movie, do not bring your laptop to the bed. Frequently changing bed sheets, making your bed and fluffing your pillows can create a comfortable environment that will facilitate you in dozing off. Some people may also use a weighted blanket.
See The Light
Your exposure to light regulates your sleep cycle in a positive way. Even if the sun is not out, spending time in the natural light can be beneficial. You will be exposed to fresh air as well. It is also recommended that you remain cautious of your screen time as its blue light interferes with your body's sleep-promoting mechanism.
Due to sleepless nights, many people nap at irregular times. It is recommended that instead of approaching them haphazardly, you can take consistent and intentional naps. Apart from reducing sleepiness, it has various other benefits like memory formation, improved learning, etc. These naps should be 10-20 minutes long. Longer or shorter ones may not help you reap its benefits.
It is easy to forget about exercise with all the stress that is surrounding us. However, daily exercise has various benefits including promoting better sleep. It is not necessary that you have to indulge in heavy exercises, you can also go for a walk while keeping a safe distance from people. You can benefit from the yoga and gym sessions held online as well.
Foster Connection And Practice Kindness
Even though it does not seem essential, kindness does have a positive effect on your sleep. It reduces stress and makes one feel better. In this uncertain time, try and find something that will lift your mood. It is recommended that you stay connected to your friends and family while maintaining social distancing.
Utilize Relaxation Techniques
There are various relaxation techniques available that will help you relax. Some people prefer to use breathing exercise, while others like to meditate before going to sleep. Some even prefer to read books. There are no hard and fast rules, just do what makes you feel comfortable.
It is also recommended that you limit the amount of news you receive related to the pandemic.
Keep A Healthy Diet
Since it is convenient to binge on sugary or fatty foods during this time, it is recommended that you keep a check on your diet. You should also be cautious with your caffeine and alcohol intake as well because both of them can disrupt your sleep.
Contact Your Doctor
If you have severe sleep problems, it is advised that you visit your doctor.