As we continue to live in the world of quarantine, for many people stress levels are continuing to grow. We are constantly thinking about the virus, fear of being furloughed, about the economy and what the future holds. We are also worrying about our children and their education and even about how much we have been eating out of boredom.
All of these are contributing factors to increased stress and therefore affecting our sleep. And if we aren’t getting enough sleep, we become more susceptible to the effects of stress. A real good night sleep has a significant impact on our mood and our mental wellbeing. While that won’t stop the virus, our immune systems become suppressed when we are sleep deprived. We need to be feeling at the top of our game in order to deal with life’s pressures during isolation.
Here are a few tips:
Some form of exercise can really have a huge impact on your sleep. Exercise can contribute to more sound and restful sleep. Physical activity increases time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety. So, whether that be you go for a run, a walk or do a YouTube workout session, get your body moving.
Social distancing and working from home means that you are struggling to get natural light, which can have a negative effect on your mental health and physical wellbeing. Try to go out for a walk a day, spend some time in the garden and open your windows for fresh air. If you are working from home, try to position your work area near to a window. Getting in natural light helps resent our internal body clock and helps us to become more alert.
Keep your bedroom as a sanctuary. The bedroom environment plays an important part in achieving a good night’s sleep. Make sure you sleep on a comfortable, supportive bed and keep the room cool, quiet and dark. Keep computers and clutter out of the bedroom – this is a room where you should feel calm and clear headed.
It’s well known that we should stop using electronics an hour before bedtime because of the blue light emitted. However, it’s also important not to use them in bed as this activity can keep us awake and alert. Given the current crisis, watching the news or social media feeds can prove quite distressing, so avoid doing so in the run up to bedtime.
And breathe …
Before you fall asleep, practice relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises. Some people may prefer to use guided meditation, mindfulness or white noise to feel calm, while others would rather read or listen to soothing music. Do what make you feel good.
If you are having trouble sleeping and need to talk to someone, take a look at our EAP for more information