Why getting a good night's sleep in 2020 is more important than ever before

I'm sure we all know a loved one who has been having a tough time this year. Stress can cause sleep deprivation, insufficient sleep can then cause further stress and health problems.

Anxiety relating to a loss of control and uncertainty are completely understandable as we shelter during the global pandemic. While fear is a natural response, too much anxiety can be problematic. 

The importance of getting a great night's sleep can't be understated. By getting the correct amount of winks regularly, you can improve brain function, increase energy and productivity and regulate your mood better throughout the day. Having a better night's sleep will support the body's defense system fight Covid-19 whereas sleep deprivation weakens the immune system and makes people more vulnerable to catching the virus.

Focusing on improving your sleep is a perfect fit for working on self-care because getting enough sleep can benefit your immune system. 

Firstly lets look at some causes of sleep deprivation during the global pandemic.

One major cause of bad sleep these days is that people are looking at their screens right up to turning out the lights at bed time. The blue light from the screens stops the body from producing the sleep hormone melatonin, which can lead to trouble falling asleep.

An overload of information in general will keep the mind racing, elevating the body's system response and triggering insomnia.

While we are at home sheltering, the loss of daytime structure can upset nighttime sleep schedules. Having an inconsistent bedtime and wake up time can change the urge to sleep, making the ability to sleep unpredictable.

Depressed moods and more downtime might increase the chance of taking long naps which is likely to make falling asleep at bedtime more difficult.

How can we improve our sleep during the global pandemic?

Create a sleep schedule and stick to it

Experiment around and figure out your ideal amount of sleep, then prioritise that amount of sleep each night. Although we are all different, most adults need seven to eight hours.

  • Stop looking at your screen at night time

Turn off your devices one hour before bed time. Leave your phone charging in a different room to the one you sleep in so you are not tempted to look at it during the night.

Find some me time

Use the hour before bedtime for yourself with no electronic engagement. Minimise conversations and calls. Try taking a hot bath or shower, play some music, try meditating and read a book or magazine.

Minimise naps

Try to avoid daytime sleep where possible.

Try breathing exercises

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a great example:

  1. Allow your lips to gently part.
  2. Exhale completely, making a breathy whoosh sound as you do.
  3. Press your lips together as you silently inhale through the nose for a count of 4 seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  5. Exhale again for a full 8 seconds, making a whooshing sound throughout.
  6. Repeat 4 times when you first start. Eventually work up to 8 repetitions.

Gain control over stress

During the pandemic many of us have less access to our usual coping strategies such as time with friends and going to the gym. Try new activities and hobbies such as painting, writing, photography and exercise. Connect with your friends through technology and consider therapy if the stress feels unmanageable.

Structure your daytime schedule

Making daily commitments to activities can help build structure to your days which supports a regular bedtime and wake time. A few examples might be exercising, making meals and time spent socialising. Keep a calendar and set reminders to help keep your new schedule.

Enhance your sleep environment

Ensure that your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Manage the temperature, lighting, ambient noises and smell. We highly recommend our luxury sleep masks and pillow sprays to help with creating the perfect relaxing environment for more comfortable and rejuvenating nights sleep.

 

While sleep is important, try not to worry about it. Worrying leads to more stress and less sleep. Some things are out of our control, so just control the controllable. Just do your best to get to bed on time and have a go at following some of these tips to help improve your rest.

December 08, 2020 — Dan Holman

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