The inability to fall asleep is both frustrating and irritating, yet it is something that many people have faced during the pandemic. The novel coronavirus, political unrest, and the uncertainty of the future take center stage, while rising rates of insomnia fly under the radar.
Sleep is integral for people to maintain overall wellness, as it helps the body recover. A healthy sleep/wake cycle contributes to reduced inflammation, improved cognitive function, decreased rates of depression, and healthier immune function. Millions of people dealt with insomnia prior to COVID-19, and the numbers have only increased within the past several months. In fact, a March 2020 statistic revealed that prescriptions for antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and anti-insomnia medications increased 21% from February 2020.
Is COVID-19 To Blame For Ruined Sleep?
This entire situation has major economic, social, and health impacts for everyone. Whether you are a frontline worker, essential worker, or surviving on unemployment, the combination of COVID-19, isolation, and heightened stress can affect your mood and sleep. At the same time, people should also take ownership for their sleep troubles.
Some people abandoned regular habits during quarantine, throwing their bodies out of whack with improper eating times, sleep schedules, and lack of routine. Additionally, the constant involvement with the news and other forms of media is mentally draining. People became overwhelmed, worrying if they cleaned properly, if they had enough toilet paper, or wondering if they were exposed to the virus.
People will always do what they want, eat what they want, and sleep when they want, no matter the consequences. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. Sometimes, we need to take a step back from the goings-on of the world to realize that our health is not right. If you are going to bed at 4 a.m. and waking up at 8 a.m. on a regular basis, how can you expect to remain healthy? It’s natural to experience anxiety and insomnia, but you don’t have to let these conditions dictate your sleep pattern. You can take control of your sleep!
How To Sleep Better During COVID-19
Do Not Read The News Before Bed:
If you don’t want to slide into the downward spiral of a sleepless night, avoid all the news before bed. In fact, take it a step further and avoid screens altogether. The blue light from electronics can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep and wake cycle. Social distancing, however, has forced people to spend more time on their phones, laptops, or computers. They want to feel involved with the world, and they get sucked into the news wormhole in the process of communicating with friends online. It’s good to stay informed, but you also need to protect your mental health. There’s no reason to get a late night fix of news before you lay your head to rest.
Naps Are A No No:
If you are out of work or simply taking the day off and staying at home, it’s easy to succumb to the power of naps. They seem so harmless, but they are trying to impair your ability to fall asleep at night. A 20-minute mid-afternoon nap is harmless, but sleeping on the couch for hours in the middle of the day can affect your sleep schedule. Avoid naps and focus on a healthy eight hours at night.
Ease Off The Sauce:
Unfortunately, many people found solace in alcohol during the pandemic. Alcohol sales skyrocketed, in part because people wanted to self medicate and sleep better, but also because bars shut down. A drink or two may help you slip into sleep, but it can have an alerting effect on the body as you begin to eliminate it. Drinking before bed can cause you to toss and turn at night, and you’ll undoubtedly be up to urinate at least once or twice. If you do drink, consume moderately and stop drinking three hours before bed.
Laziness set in during the pandemic. Some people stayed motivated to maintain their daily workouts, while others let lethargy take over. You don’t need a home gym to stay active. While you may not have weights to throw around, walking, jogging, biking, yoga, and bodyweight exercises can help you burn calories, energy, and anxiety. Exercise is a great way to combat stress, depression, and anxiety, and it also exhausts the body, contributing to better sleep.
Your Bed Is For Sleep:
If you are working from home, make the distinction between your workspace and your sleep space. The bed should only be for sleep and sexual relations. There’s no need to type daily reports or design graphics while sprawled out on the bed. Work from home does not mean work from bed! Blurring the lines can make it difficult to fall asleep when it comes time to do so.
Find Something Relaxing To Do Before Bed:
No, this does not mean playing Candy Crush on your phone. Reading a book, listening to calming music, taking a hot bath, or meditating are excellent relaxation techniques. Often times, people who follow guided meditation videos geared towards better sleep experience positive results. Give it a shot!