We are living in a world of unknowns. This uncertainty of how the future will unfold causes the mind to play out endless scenarios, leading to increased levels of anxiety and stress. It’s completely natural to have a lot on your mind. You could be out of a job for an indeterminate amount of time, a family member could be sick, you could have a baby on the way, or perhaps the safer at home measures are causing you to go stir crazy. Any number of these reasons can cause you to lose sleep.
According to Brittany LeMonda, PhD and a senior neuropsychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, immunity is related to the amount of sleep you get. If you are not sleeping for the recommended 7-8 hours every night, it is possible to increase inflammation in the body, making you more susceptible to viruses or harmful bacteria in the environment. Since sleep deprivation can reduce immune function and deplete energy levels, we want to share important tips for how you can relax and have a good night’s sleep.
Seek Natural Light:
When you are stuck at home, it is easy to fall out of the routine you used to know. Before you know it, you could be going to bed at 4 a.m. and waking up at 1 p.m. In addition to maintaining healthy and regular bedtime and wake time, it is beneficial to seek natural light when possible. Open up those shades and let the light in because natural light helps us establish wake and sleep cycles. A 2019 study that was published in Somnologie found that daily exposure to natural light at high intensities helped people fall asleep faster and maintain better quality of sleep.
Don’t Nap Like Crazy:
Whether you are quarantined and bored or working from home during the pandemic, you may hear the couch or bed calling your name a little too often. Don’t listen to either of them! If you want to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, you can’t nap excessively throughout the day. A 20-minute power nap around lunch won’t hurt, but don’t slip into the habit of napping for hours on end, letting the day and your healthy sleep cycle slip away from your grasp.
Gyms are closed, parks are closed, spin studios are closed, yoga studios are closed, beaches are closed, and hiking trails are closed. That doesn’t give you an excuse to lounge in front of the TV all day, though. While you may not be able to adhere to your typical workouts, you need to exercise regularly to get your blood and endorphins flowing. Sedentary people have a harder time falling asleep because they haven’t used up any fuel in the tank. You can’t go to sleep with a fully charged battery, so get moving! Use online videos, apps, and tutorials as motivation.
Use Relaxation Techniques:
It can be beneficial to find ways that help you calm your mind. A technique that works for one person may not work for someone else, so find what works for you. You can try guided meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, yoga, reading, or listening to soothing music. Apps like Headspace or Calm have programs that are designed for people who are new to meditation. Click here for a beginner’s guide to meditation, or click here for a deep breathing sequence.
Avoid Drinking Excess Alcohol:
It’s common for people to drink their problems away, especially if they don’t have any responsibilities, like leaving the house for work. It is also common for people to have a few drinks before bed in the hopes of sleeping more soundly. Statistically, people who drink before bed do not sleep as soundly and they wake up feeling dehydrated and overly tired. Don’t use alcohol as a coping mechanism for handling stress or anxiety. Drinking heavily, in combination with poor sleep, can negatively impact immune function and your psyche.