Last year’s outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) brought with it widespread panic, leading to the subsequent worldwide lockdowns. Yet, the threat is far from over as recent reports on the pandemic indicate the new strain of the virus is much worse than its predecessor.
With these unprecedented changes forced down on us overnight, it’s no wonder that the importance of adequate rest has been swept under the rug.
Some research suggests that your troubles can be solved by simply changing your pillows or mattress, while other more severe issues may need further intervention. Whether your slumber problems were present before the pandemic or developed recently, there are various steps you can take to improve your sleeping habits during the ongoing pandemic.
Why You’re Having Difficulty Sleeping During the Pandemic
During uncertain times, it’s common for our standard sleeping patterns to be disrupted. The increased worries and stress make it difficult to switch off, affecting both the quality and amount of rest we get. We tend to:
- Find it hard to fall asleep
- Frequently wake up during the night
- Have vivid and strange dreams
- Experience night terrors (frightening dreams resulting in sleepwalking, kicking, screaming, etc.) due to anxiety
What’s the Importance of Sleeping Well?
Proper rest is crucial to our physical and emotional wellbeing. The benefits of sleeping well includes:
- Helping you to better cope with whatever comes your way
- Boosting your immune system
- Decreasing your risk of developing health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Reducing stress
- Helping to prevent anxiety and depression
Tips for Improving Your Sleeping Habits
Here are some steps you can take to improve your chances of sleeping better.
Establish a Regular Sleep Routine
Establishing and maintaining a routine during uncertain times can bring about a sense of normalcy. Your body and mind find it easier to adjust to a set sleeping schedule. For this reason, many health experts recommend avoiding significant changes to your daily sleep times.
Focus on going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Also, steer clear from sleeping in over weekends and on holidays.
Minimize Your News Intake
The mass of information surrounding the pandemic can be overwhelming, increasing both your anxiety and stress levels. Try to avoid watching social media and news updates a few hours before bedtime. Instead, catch up on the most recent developments early in the morning. This way, your mind will have enough time to absorb and deal with it.
Consider Relaxation Techniques
Adding relaxation techniques to your daily schedule will help you wind down before bedtime, potentially improving your sleeping habits. It can include:
- Taking a warm bath
- Reading a book
- Listening to relaxing music with dimmed lights
- Breathing techniques
- Mindfulness and relaxation
The internet hosts many easily downloadable mindfulness and relaxation apps.
Minimize Light Exposure Before Bed Time
Artificial illumination often tricks the mind into believing it’s daylight by disrupting your circadian rhythm. Therefore, it’s essential to minimize your light exposure before you go to sleep. Avoid devices that emit blue-light and dim your home’s luminosity a couple of hours before going to bed. It’ll help you relax and prepare your body and mind for sleep.
To Wrap Up
Prolonged inadequate rest can significantly impact both your mental and physical wellbeing. Although there are many things you can do to improve your rest, establishing a regular sleep routine and adding relaxation techniques to your daily schedule can potentially improve your sleeping habits. Minimizing your news intake and light exposure will also help.
If these tips don’t work, there may be more severe underlying causes involved, making it advisable to consult with your doctor.
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