Can’t Sleep Because of Coronavirus? How to Sleep during Covid-19 Lockdown
These aren’t normal times, nor are they normal days at the moment. The Coronavirus has been at the forefront of mass media since January, and therefore been ever present in our minds as we go to bed each night. It’s natural for us to dwell on threats and try to decipher what’s going on and how this thing will effect us. Often, that can happen in the middle of the night or just as we retire to bed for the evening when we’re tired and and not in the best mental space to deal with bigger questions and thoughts created by the threat from Covid-19.
We’ve added a few tips to help your drop off to sleep during this Coronavirus pandemic and also 5 tips to help you get back to sleep if this situation is waking you up in the dead of night.
Coronavirus – Dropping Off to Sleep
1. Have a bath before bed, read a book and leave your phone downstairs! Light candles, burn incense (lavender is a good choice). Your muscles will relax – you could well be holding yourself ‘tense’ and you won’t be subject to blue light before hitting the sack.
2. Gentle stretching will ease any tension in your body. I’m not suggesting fo a full yoga session here, it’s more of a breathing control exercise whilst stretching. As you breathe in and out of the stretches, try to visualise blowing out any anxieties and tension. It’s a neat little trick. Yoga with Adrienne is a fabulous Youtube channel, this one is just 12 minutes long and is tailored to getting you prepared for bedtime:
3. If you’re struggling to drop off to sleep during this Coronavirus lockdown, try, really try to establish a similar daily routine. You don’t have to live like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day but simply getting up and going to bed at the same time every day will work wonders. Although its probably very tempting, especially if you’ve been furloughed and not ‘allowed’ to work, avoid a mid afternoon nap too, you’re not a 2 year old anymore, then your body will be truly ready to drop off at an adult bedtime.
4. One of the government guidelines during this Covid-19 isolation period is to exercise each day. It’s as much to help your mental health health as it is to aid your physical or fitness goals. There’s been a lot written on the impact of exercise on sleep. Exercises such as light jogging, cycling and brisk walking can bring down stress levels and send you into deeper levels of restorative sleep. Worrying about Coronavirus will undoubtedly increase cortisol levels, exercise will act as an antidote to that cortisol (stress hormone).
5. The 3 hour rule of abstinence is key. Try not to drink any caffeine 3 hours before bed, likewise, finish your evening meal and let it digest before bed. It’s a balancing act but you don’t want to be going to bed too hungry or too full.
Coronavirus – waking through the night/not getting back to sleep
In the throws of a global pandemic, Covid-19, and a constant bombardment in the media of what to look out for regarding symptoms of coronavirus, waking up during the night and letting negative thoughts swamp your mind can be harrowing.
Here are a few handy tips to help you get back to sleep if you being to procrastinate or palpitate over Coronavirus.
- Get out of bed; you’ll cool down, shake off some of the tension built up by just lying there and give yourself a change of scene. Simple but effective. Head back to bed when the eyes feel heavy again, and don’t fight it, tiredness will come eventually.
- Open the bedroom window – especially if you’ve woken with a stuffy nose or a sore throat, fresh air is a wonderful medicine. There are countless articles in medical science that proves we need to reduce our temperature to allow us to fall asleep.
- Tense & Relax. This is a really simple process that is actually common at the beginning or end of yoga classes to send the body into deeper relaxation levels. Start by tensing your feet, lock your knees, squeeze your buttocks, clench your fists, tighten your biceps and even squeeze your face. Try to hold this all-over-body tensing for 5, may be 10 seconds. You’ll pant at the end but then try to be mindful of your body and heart rate easing down. As your ‘come down’ you may also drift off to sleep.
- Occupy the mind and distract it from thinking about Coronavirus. Some visualisation journeys can work well – perhaps imagine you had to walk somewhere – do the journey from your bed instead! Often, we hear of the counting sheep technique, this is nothing other than giving the mind a mantra to follow (ancient buddhistic traditions have been doing this for millennia), say a calming word to yourself and repeat on the out breath, nothing more nothing less, just repeat it whilst breathing deeply and comfortably.
- Bottom-line; please stay off the news websites, especially at 3am in the morning! Blue light is bad light when it comes to sleep.