Sleep during the Pandemic
As reported by the BBC, the hashtag “can’t sleep” has been trending for a couple of weeks. Many people have taken to social media to share their struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night due to the coronavirus outbreak and the measures taken by the governments worldwide.
People are anxious and stressed out. Their daily routines are gone out the window. They don’t spend as much time outside in the fresh air. Their diet and their habits, in general, are changed. All of this results in poor sleep – which is bad enough on its own – but when you know that getting a good night’s sleep is also important in the fight against coronavirus, you understand why it’s particularly important we all focus on getting enough rest in this period and beyond. Here are some things you can do to get your recommended dose of shuteye.
Establish a routine
If you are in lockdown, your whole way of living is probably changed. You probably don’t get up at the same time every day to get to work. You don’t need to pick up your kids from school; you don’t go grocery shopping as often, and so on. Establishing a routine, which includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, will help recover a dose of normality in your life again. Keep a sleeping schedule to follow your sleep cycle.
Don’t nap too much
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Staying home the entire day seems like a nice way to get some rest. But, as we’ve all found out, it can be depressing and tiresome. Being indoors all day will make you feel fatigued, and you will probably want to take a nap. The difference between a good nap and a bad oneis the duration. A thirty-minute power nap will restore your energy. Anything longer will only make you more lightheaded.
Fix dry mouth
Waking up with a dry mouth means that the sleep you had wasn’t of the best quality. The most common reason for dry mouth is sleeping with your mouth open (breathing through your mouth). Mouth breathing can cause sleep interruptions and have an overall negative impact on your life. You can prevent mouth breathingby using tape, drinking plenty of water during the day, avoiding medications that cause dehydration, and chewing sugarless gum to stimulate the production of saliva.
Practice deep breathing
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To be able to fall asleep, you need to calm both your body and mind first. One of the best ways to get to that point is by taking a few deep breaths. Some breathing exerciseshave proved to be the most efficient:
- 4-7-8: Inhale and count to four, then hold your breath for seven seconds, exhale for full eight seconds, and repeat about four times.
- Bhramari pranayama: includes closing your eyes, breathing deeply in and out, and then covering your eyes with your hands. After, you need to place your index fingers above the eyebrows. Follow with gentle pressure on both sides of your nose. Finally, keep your mouth closed and breathe out through the nose while humming. Repeat a couple of times.
- The Papworth method: Sit up straight (as much as you can in your bed). Take deep four-second long breaths, inhaling and exhaling through the nose each time. Focus on the sound of your breathing and allow it to soothe you.
Calculate with the light
Light is what regulates your sleep cycle, and when you’re spending barely any time outside, it can be complicated to use it to your benefit. However, the least you can do is open the curtains wide and let the natural light inside your home as soon as you wake up. Also, prepare for bedtime by blacking out the bedroom, which includes shutting down all your electronic devices. Exposure to blue screen light before bedtime can only stress out both your eyes and mind.
Don’t spend too much time in your bed
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When isolating at home, the way you use the space you have at your disposal can help you or make it more difficult for you to maintain a sense of order. To remain productive during the day and ready for sleep at bedtime, make your bed once you get up in the morning and stay away from it for the rest of the day. It is a place for sleeping, and not for naps, daytime reading, or daydreaming.
Exercising during the day (not very close to your bedtime) will energize you for all of your activities, but also help you fall asleep faster and sleep without interruptions. Moderate cardio can be done indoors, but if you have the opportunity, you can also take a short walk.
This is a difficult time for everyone, and losing sleep comes as a natural consequence. Make sure you follow these tips to maintain a healthy sleeping routine, and you’ll be better equipped to make the most out of each new day.
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