Loss of sleep is understandable during this time of uncertainty. You may feel elevated levels of stress, anxiety, loss of control, and an overload of information. This can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Why is sleep so important
Adequate sleep maximizes your ability for a better day. Sleep is key for regulating your mood, supporting your immune system, improving your brain function, and increasing energy and overall productivity. Instead, of taking time to focus on worrying focus on improving your sleep through a change in a few sleep habits.
8 Tips to improve your sleep
1. Set a routine
Establishing a daytime routine can create a sense of regularity. It helps also support a consistent sleep schedule. Set a sleep schedule with regular bedtime and wake-up time that provides 7 – 9 hours of sleep each day. To help remember this schedule try phone reminders.
2. Unwind into sleep
Now more than ever prioritize a relaxing bedtime routine. This time allows you to unwind into sleep by separating the stressors of the day from your sleep. Every night try one or two of the following relaxation strategies 15-60 minutes before your bedtime:
Deep breathing: Try taking 5 deep breaths
Read a physical book
Gratitude notebook: list things that you are thankful for that day to fall asleep in a positive mood.
Progressive muscle relaxation:
Worry journal: Write down all your racing thoughts or worries before getting into bed
3. Manage daily stress
During this time, normal stress coping strategies may be less available. Take this chance to explore new strategies – painting, coloring, container gardening, indoor exercises, etc. Whatever it is, make time each day for a few moments to destress each day.
4. Electronics curfew
Create an electronics curfew, at least 30 minutes before bedtime, putting aside all screens for the evening. This includes turning off all media and news. Also, try reducing screen brightness, or wearing blue light blocking glasses in the evening. Allow your body to wind down before bed and produce melatonin on the proper schedule.
5. Get out and move
Evidence shows regular exercise helps you fall asleep more easily and increases your time in deep restorative sleep. Try finding ways to get moving outdoors in natural light. Light can help regulate your internal clock and improve your mood.
6. Separate your place of rest, from your workspace
During this time, homes have become libraries, coffee shops, and offices. It is important to keep your bed as a place only for rest or sex. Do not eat, work, or study in your bed. Keep it as a place for relaxation and rest. Not a place of stress or worry.
7. Be careful with napping
It may be tempting being home all day to take more or longer naps. However, if you have trouble falling asleep in the evening, avoid naps! If you must nap, keep it short (30 minutes) and in the early afternoon.
8. Avoid stimulants and depressants
Caffeine and alcohol can decrease sleep quality, which in turn negatively impacts your mood and stress levels. Avoid drinking caffeine in the late afternoon decrease the ability to fall asleep.