In these challenging times, we may all feel like taking to our bed!
And while the old adage is because we feel unable to deal with things, we are urging people to take to their bed… to get some good quality sleep.
When we sleep well, we have more ability to deal with worries and anxieties and tackle problems head on, we think more sharply, can concentrate on tasks (harder enough working from home with children to teach!) and are less moody and irritable.
However the latest Sleep Council survey highlights that more people are unhappy with their quality of sleep and 43% are finding it increasingly harder to fall asleep due to unease around Covid-19.
Here are some top tips for getting better sleep during these difficult times:
Bedroom environment is key
Don’t neglect the basics when it comes to sleeping better. Your bedroom environment plays a part in achieving a good night’s sleep. It should be cool, quiet and dark. Keep computers and clutter out of the bedroom – this is a room where you should feel calm and clear headed. The bed itself is of critical importance to quality sleep. The foundation of good sleep is a comfortable bed and the right mattress can make the difference between a restorative night’s sleep and poor quality sleep that results in tiredness and fatigue. Research shows that sleeping on an uncomfortable bed could rob you of up to an hour’s sleep. For more information on buying a new bed click here.
Keep a routine
You may be working from home, or have children who are away from school, but try to maintain some control on your sleep/wake sleep schedule which is important in periods of unrest. Not only will the routine keep you focused, it really does help to keep the body’s internal body clock in sync. Don’t nap or sleep in whenever you want. It throws your schedule off track and the extra sleep could make it even tougher for you to fall asleep at night.
Try to stay active
Exercise (but not too close to bedtime) can also aid better quality sleep and is a great mood booster. It improves heart health and blood pressure; builds and strengthens bone and muscle; helps combat stress and it helps you look and feel better. Exercise doesn’t need to be in the form of going to the gym or exercise class, you can build physical activity into your daily routine by dancing to music, cleaning, using online workouts and even a quiet walk.
Get as much natural light as possible
Working from home, social distancing or even self-isolating may mean you’re struggling to enjoy being out in the natural light – this in turn can negatively affect your mental and physical wellbeing. Where possible try to go out for a quiet daily walk, spend some time in the garden and open the windows for fresh air. If you’re working from home, try to position your work area near to a window. Natural light – even on a cloudy day – helps reset our internal body clock and make us more alert.
Avoid a nighttime tipple
You may find yourself reaching for an evening tipple to help relax you and get a better night’s sleep but it does have an impact. While it may initially help you fall asleep more quickly, you don’t get the same quality of sleep after drinking alcohol and you will often feel unrefreshed the next day.
Stay away from devices
It’s well known fact that we should stop using electronics an hour before bedtime due to the blue light emitted. However, we also advise you don’t use them as the activities we do on them can keep us awake and alert. Given the current crisis, you may find watching the news or social media feeds quite distressing or worrying so avoid watching in the run up to bedtime if it’s likely to make you feel more anxious.
Finding ways to relax before you fall asleep is key and none more so when you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Practice relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises. Some may prefer to use guided meditation, mindfulness or white noise to feel calm, other may prefer to read or listen to soothing music. Do what makes you feel good.