A lot is going on in the world right now, and our sleep schedules are taking the hit
You do everything you’re supposed to do, you head to bed at a reasonable time, you pack your phone away because you know that blue light is the devil, and you try your damndest to switch your brain off once your head hits the pillow. But still, you lie there for one, two, even three hours finding it impossible to drift off despite feeling physically tired, and when you do eventually go to the land of nod you’re quickly jolted back awake with vivid and scary dreams.
But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Coronavirus anxiety is a very real thing and it’s the main reason behind our all-over-the-shop sleep patterns. Many experts say that the current pandemic we’re facing has created the perfect sleep storm. Almost everything in our lives has been disrupted and that causes us to exist in a constant state of stress, which of course has a knock-on effect on the way we rest our bodies.
As we are all probably aware, sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies, along with drinking water, eating our greens and getting our heart rates up every now and again, getting at least 7 hours sleep each night will result in more energy and more importantly better emotional balance.
While there’s no ‘quick-fix’ for the current issue we’re facing and the negative effect this is having on our mental health, there are small steps you can take to ensure your mind and body switches off when necessary.
Here are just a few.
Although we don’t exactly live in costa del sunshine, exposing ourselves to light in any way we can works wonders for our brains and overall sleep schedules. Firstly, leave the blinds or curtains in your bedroom open at night, the natural light will help you to wake at a better time in the morning. Then, when you are up and about try to spend as much time as you can outdoors, whether it’s having your lunch break on your balcony, bringing your dog for a walk mid-afternoon, or exercising on the grass instead of in your pokey shed, exposing ourselves to as much light as possible will help to keep us awake and energised during the day, fighting away those tempting afternoon naps and resulting in us being more tired come bedtime. If you’re lacking natural light in your space, consider buying a light therapy box to do the job.
If you’re working from home at the moment, it might be worth remaining conscious about where you choose to do your 8-hours work. If you’re the kind of gal to grab your laptop and set up camp on your cosy bed, this could be the reason why you’re finding it difficult to sleep. Avoid doing anything other than fun things *wink wink* in your bedroom and you’ll soon associate it with a place of happiness and tranquillity. Have a decent clear out to remove any clutter hanging around your bedroom, change your bed sheets regularly, keep it cool with a window open, invest in some pillow sprays, they may not scientifically work but if they’re enough to trick your brain into thinking it’s relaxed enough to sleep then that’s good enough. Basically, treat your sleep space as your temple and see what happens.
If you didn’t dose off until the early hours of the morning, don’t use that as an excuse to sleep until 2pm the next day. If you didn’t fall asleep until late it’s still important to wake up early and go about your day as normal as you can. It may seem difficult and yes, you will be wrecked, but this is the only way to beat the cycle. Get up at 9 or 10am, get showered and dressed and be wise with what you do throughout the day. Exercising, even just a little, will help you to feel more tired come night time and limiting your caffeine intake will do the same. Keeping regular sleeping hours allows the brain to get used to a set routine, and a set routine means that your both your mind and body will be worn out enough come night time to get some kip. Hurrah!
Lying there, getting angry at yourself for not being asleep is a sure-fire way to not fall asleep. And so is looking at your phone every 10 minutes to see how much time has passed since you have not fallen asleep yet. Treat bedtime as a time to relax, and if you fall asleep, well that’s just an added bonus. If you go to bed with this mindset then you’re pretty much guaranteed to fall asleep. Do the thing that everyone harps on about and clear your mind of worries, don’t think about that embarrassing thing you did when you were 14. Just lying still and relaxing is a method of rejuvenation for your body. So while you might not be out-for-the-count just yet, taking time out to be static is still good for your brain and body, and sleep will soon follow.