What are the healthy sleep habits that we should embrace in the time of Covid-19 lockdown? There are many that’s for sure, with or without COVID-19. However, these healthy habits are related to sleep.
For many of us, quarantine has jeopardized our sleep and changed our sleeping habits drastically. If we are working from home, we don’t need to wake up as early as we had to before and we can afford to go to bed a little bit later but sometimes that becomes significantly later where we are struggling to wake up on time for work.
Sleep plays a significant role in our physical resilience and overall immune function. Also, sleep is crucial for our well-being, with a great impact on stress levels and positive mood. In general, sleep has a great impact on our physical and mental health.
How did Sleep change During Covid-19 Times?
The main thing is the lack of consistent exposure to sunlight which has an impact on the circadian system strongly related to sleep. Additionally, we all have a reduced level of physical activity which can lead to irregular sleep. When you add on top of this, the worry and ruminations due to uncertainty, the lack of sleep is almost guaranteed.
Let’s start with our circadian system that regulates the 24-hour cycle of sleep time and awake time. The sunlight and natural environment keep the body clock ticking. Thanks to the exposure to sunlight we know when should sleep and when it is the time to wake up. Ideally, we need at least one hour of exposure to bright light in the morning. The best way to have this is to be outdoors on our balcony, in a backyard or in a park. The right exposure to sunlight is the first and most important thing we can do.
What is the second thing that we can do? Physical activity! Yes, we can’t go to a gym or our regular yoga class but there are other things that we can do. Specific resolutions for each individual highly depend on you and your preferences but you should find something that works for you. You can pull out your old weights or roll out your yoga mat. Any movement that’s possible for you or that’s at least mildly challenging will do the trick.
Research on sleep and physical activity showed that less vigorous and consistent activity is a good predictor of deep and long sleep. Consistency is key. Have a schedule and keep your routine going.
In a time of stress, having control of your thoughts and feelings is crucial. Yes, we feel like we don’t have control over the situation that’s going on in the world but don’t forget that you have control over how you feel and what you think. Develop a habit of writing down your concerns in a journal in the early evening. This habit might help you develop emotional stability by acknowledging and understanding your worries. Also, regular practice of meditation and gratitude before bedtime will help you deal better with stressful situations.
The last thing to keep in mind is maintaining a difference between bedroom, work, and entertainment. The key thing here is that your mind recognizes bed as a signal to fall asleep quickly. If you are working from home, try not to work in your bedroom. Also, avoid watching TV from your bed.
During hectic times like these, sleep often gets pushed aside as not a relevant part of our daily lives. We should keep in mind that during the lockdown, we have time to attend to this important aspect of our life.