The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us in so many different ways, one thing which has been affected is our sleep. With so much free time on our hands, many of us have taken this opportunity to sleep more, perhaps by taking naps or not having to set an alarm every day, so we would expect to have been sleeping better. However, our quality of sleep has taken a turn for the worse and data shows there was a ‘notable drop’ in sleep quality since lockdown was announced.
The reasons why? Lockdown has meant that many of us have been spending more time at home rather than outdoors, so we are a lot less active and therefore we are not getting as tired. We are feeling more anxious than ever due to uncertainty – whether this be health, money, jobs, lack of social interaction- these thoughts have been keeping us up at night. Furthermore, many of our sleeping patterns have changed drastically, with the opportunity to get up later and therefore go to bed later. There has been a lot going on, so many have increased our alcohol intake. All of these reasons whether individually or collectively will have a negative effect on our sleep.
We are all in uncharted territory during this lockdown, therefore it is even more important than ever to look after our wellbeing and sleep is an incredibly important part of that. Scientists have gone to great lengths to understand sleep's benefits. In studies they have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions.
Things that have helped me sleep better
This just shows why sleep is more important than ever, so we wanted to share with you our tips on ways in which you can improve your sleep quality:
- Be consistent – Set a regular sleep schedule, by waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. This may be different to your routine in normality, and that is ok, but consistency is the key to controlling your internal body clock.
- Concentrate on the positive – We have all felt overwhelmed with the influx of news reports on Coronavirus, this can increase both stress and anxiety levels. Therefore, it is important to limit the amount of time you spend watching the news and watch it as early in the day as possible. So that before bed you are not filling your mind with negativity.
- Exercise – ensure you spend at least an hour exercising each day, even if it is only a walk. Evidence has shown that regular exercise and living an active lifestyle can help you sleep, by relieving the worry and anxiety that can disrupt sleep.
- Avoid screens before bed – One of the main reasons for doing this is to reduce light, as artificial lighting can trick your body into thinking it's day light. It is also important to limit your exposure to negativity before bed, whether this be seeing something on social media or quickly checking your emails – you could easily see something which would have you up all night worrying!
Getting off to sleep
One of the hardest parts for most people is initially getting off to sleep, whether that be because there are so many distractions e.g. screens, or there are so many thoughts going through their head or that their body and mind has not properly wound down. So we suggest that you create a bedtime routine, an hour before you go to bed, which you complete every night. This will help your mind and body to wind down, to get ready to go to sleep. Here is our suggestion for a bedtime routine:
- Preferably place your phone and any other electronics outside of your bedroom, if not possible place it away from your bed.
- Take a relaxing bath, accompanied by a Scentered Candle – we would recommend DE-STRESS or SLEEP WELL to help you relax.
- Write in a journal about your day, concentrating on the positives and what you are grateful for, but also jotting down anything you are worried about – so that it is out of your head.
- Spend ten minutes meditating or practicing breathing techniques – there are lots of meditation and mindfulness apps which you could use.
- Get into bed and read a book.
- Apply the Scentered Sleep Well Balm to your pulse points…and you are ready for bed.
We would love to hear your tips on how to get a good night sleep or what you do as a part of your bedtime routine, be sure to share this with us on social media - @Scentered.