Tips to turn your lockdown sleep habits around
Many of us have experienced disruption to our sleeping habits since lockdown restrictions began back in March.
Recent surveys have shown that significant numbers of the UK population say their sleep patterns have been worse or more disturbed than usual.
With millions of us facing uncertainty and stress when it comes to employment, finances and the Coronavirus pandemic in general, you may be feeling tired and run-down but still finding it hard to get good sleep.
Perhaps you’re waking up a lot during the night and worrying about the current situation.
It’s incredibly common to have disrupted sleep patterns when we’re faced with uncertainty.
Feeling stressed can make it really hard to properly switch off and affects the quality and amount of sleep you’re getting.
So let’s take a look at how we can all turn our lockdown sleeping habits around...
Establish a good sleep routine
Setting up a regular sleep routine can give you a little bit of normality and help you feel calmer and in control. Sticking to the same sleep schedule every night will allow your body to re-establish its natural rhythm.
Millions of us were furloughed in 2020, and not having to wake up at a set time to go to work may have led you to sleep in, snooze for periods during the day and stay up later than usual.
It’s alright to do this occasionally, but doing it for extended periods can be damaging as good sleep is crucial to our health.
Even if you have no real need to, it’s best to wake up (and get up) at a set time so that you'll be sufficiently tired by the end of the day, making it easier to get some healthy sleep.
Get yourself outside
Getting plenty of exposure to natural light in the open air will help keep your circadian rhythm in balance.
This helps to control your internal body clock, which naturally follows a 24-hour cycle.
Regular exposure to sunlight regulates melatonin production in your body, which is vital in regulating your sleep and waking patterns.
Don’t check the news before bed
The often overwhelming scale of news coverage and information on the pandemic, lockdowns and the economy can increase stress and anxiety.
Avoid watching or reading the news or using social media for a few hours before bed.
You could perhaps check any news developments in the morning instead.
Get some exercise and eat well
Studies show that regular exercise can help you sleep for longer by lowering stress levels. Exercising regularly is great, but try not to do it late in the evening. You may have trouble falling asleep as your body will still be energised from the activity.
A healthy diet is also key to healthy sleep. Drink enough water during the day, and avoid eating large amounts late at night, as it often causes indigestion and keeps you awake.
Limit your napping
It’s really tempting at the moment, but if you’ve had a poor night’s sleep and are feeling pretty tired, you may want to nap during the daytime. Short ‘power naps’ in the early afternoon can sometimes be helpful but avoid taking longer naps, or snoozing later on in the day, as it’s likely to to stop you getting a good night’s sleep.
Reduce blue light and wind down
Artificial light can fool your brain and body into thinking it’s still the daytime. Dim your lights and don’t use any electronic devices right before bedtime. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your regular routine could also really help you get a good night’s sleep.
Activities such as having a bath, reading a book, mindfulness, listening to relaxing music and meditation can all help you get rid of those annoying lockdown sleep habits.
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20th January 2021