The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone. We all are having to deal with the challenges posed by uncertainty and a sense of lack of control, which can bring worries and anxiety. A couple of weeks ago we talked extensively about this and outlined How to Manage Covid-19 Anxiety in 7 Steps and you can read the post and find the “manage COVID-19 Anxiety” infographic here in case you missed it.
One of the most important aspects to maintain good physical and mental health is sleep, and during the Coronavirus crisis, especially if you’re on lockdown, it is possible to find your sleep is disrupted. Perhaps you find it hard to fall asleep or maybe it’s more to do with waking up in the middle of the night. Whatever the situation, we have prepared a list of tips which can help you get longer and better sleep. Here is How to Improve Sleep during the Covid-19 crisis in 7 steps.
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We hope the infographic proved useful, and feel free to share it with your friends or anyone who you think might benefit from learning ways to improve their sleep while facing the pandemic. You can also engage with us via our facebook page here. Read on for the text-only version:
Is the Covid-19 crisis Affecting Your Sleep?
Most of us are experiencing heightened anxiety levels due to Covid-19 and the circumstances surrounding it. Sleep is one of the first things that are affected when we feel anxious. Feeling excessively tired can make everything more challenging in this already stressful situation. Here are 10 key ways to improve your sleep:
tip#1 – Establish a Regular Routine by:
- Going to bed at a similar time and waking at a similar time each day
- Having a similar wind-down routine before bed
- Eating roughly at the same time each day
- Try to avoid naps in the day, if you have a strong need to have one take one earlier in the day and for a maximum of 45 minutes
tip#2 – Reserve Your Bedroom For Only Sleep (and Intimacy):
- If possible, try to avoid doing things such as working and watching television in your bedroom. It is important for your brain to associate your bedroom with sleep rather than being awake.
tip#3 – Check what you Eat and Drink
- Avoid drinking caffeine after 3pm
- Don’t go to bed too hungry or too full
- Reduce/avoid alcohol and drugs; although alcohol can get us to sleep more quickly, our quality of sleep is poorer
tip#4 – Set the Right Atmosphere for Sleep
- When it is time to sleep ensure the room is quiet (wear ear plugs if necessary) and dark (use black-out blinds and eye masks, avoid using your phone and computer close to bedtime as the light from this can make us alert)
- Ensure the room is relatively cool
- Create a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom by perhaps avoiding clutter and using aromatherapy such as lavender
tip#5 – Be Active During the Day
- Try to be relatively active in the day to wear the brain and body out somewhat
- Exercise in the day can help you sleep at night, but don’t exercise too close to bedtime
tip#6 – Manage your Racing Thoughts
- Practice a mindfulness/meditation exercise
- Challenge/question any overly ‘negative thinking’
- Remind yourself that you cannot solve any problems whilst in bed, write down your worries and tackle them at a more appropriate time!
tip#7 – Alleviate Stress During the Day
- Be somewhat active in the day, have a balance between activities that bring a sense of achievement, enjoyment, closeness to others and relaxation
- Avoid checking the news too frequently
- If possible, get some natural sunlight and feel connected with nature
- Attend to things that you are grateful for
- Let go of judgments and, instead, be compassionate towards yourself and others
Ask for Professional Help if you are Struggling during the Covid-19 crisis
If you are really struggling with sleep during the Covid-19 crisis and are perhaps feeling anxious, worried or low, this article might not be enough. If you find that there are very distressing emotions which are increasing and it has become difficult to manage them on your own, reach out for professional help. For example, contact your GP, or dial 111, or contact us for a free 15 min consultation to discuss how you are feeling and if you desire, to arrange an initial online or telephone appointment with one of our therapists.
We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.
The Therapy Central Directors