Fixing Our Broken Sleep
Posted by Century Support Services on Oct 12, 2020
Everyone is entitled to a good night’s sleep, but in times of stress, some people find sleeping difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the health and well-being of people around the country. Whether you’re caring for a sick loved one or simply worrying about paying the bills, you’re not alone if you’ve been experiencing insomnia for the last several months.
It’s possible to get a good night’s sleep, even when you’re under stress. By changing your activities throughout the day, and by altering your sleep environment to be more conducive to a good night’s sleep, you can fix your broken sleep.
Set a Schedule
Avoid going to bed at irregular, unpredictable hours. Set a bed time every night, and a time to wake up every day. CDC says that adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night, so set aside at least 7 uninterrupted hours.
Establish a sleeping routine that includes at least an hour of relaxation time every night before bed. This might involve showering before bedtime, or reading just before falling asleep. You might also try listening to relaxing music, or drinking a warm, decaffeinated beverage.
Turn off your television in the hour or two before bed, and resist the urge to look at your phone. Blue light from electronic devices signals to your body that it’s time to be awake, so avoid looking at anything that could disrupt your body’s circadian rhythms.
Create an Environment for Sleep
If your brain associates your bed with bedtime, you’ll naturally feel sleepy when you get into bed at night. Are you working from home? Avoid doing work in bed. Reserve your bed for sleep and normal bedtime activities only.
Make changes to your bedroom to make the environment easier to sleep in. Draw curtains and blinds to prevent street lights from illuminating your bedroom while you’re trying to sleep. Cover or move any electronic devices that light up your darkened room, such as the light from your phone or DVD player.
Use a white noise maker to block sounds outside your house. If you don’t have a white noise maker already, download a free white noise maker app onto your phone, or turn on a fan instead.
Change Your Daily Activities
Taking naps during the day makes it harder to fall asleep at bedtime. Hold off on all daytime napping. If you must nap, keep it short. If you can stop yourself from napping, try exercising instead.
Exercise can help you feel more energized, according to Mayo Clinic. It also helps you focus on issues that you may be struggling with. You don’t need to have a gym membership to get exercise: going for walks in uncrowded areas can be invigorating.
When the weather gets bad, exercise indoors. Sit ups, push ups, squats, dips, lunges, crunches – all can be done at home without gym equipment. Set aside just a few minutes each day to exercise. As you get used to exercising, increase the time you spend exercising each day. Burning energy will help you feel better during the day, and sleep better at night.
Sleep Is Important During a Pandemic
This year’s World Mental Health Day, on October 10, came at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought many challenges and it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years.
Sleep is always important, but during a pandemic, it’s more important than ever. Getting rest helps build your immune system and heightens your brain function, so you can think clearly throughout the day. Sleep improves your mood, too, by reducing feelings of depression and irritability. You’ll feel calmer and more capable of dealing with stress if you’re well rested. So, prioritize sleep. Go to bed early. You’ll feel better in the morning.