SLEEP HYGIENE IN A PANDEMIC
Has your sleep been affected by the pandemic such that you've been getting less and less sleep as time goes on? You find yourself waking up in the middle of the night prowling the corridors of your house, or just lying awake in bed thinking about the various upheavals the pandemic has wrought in your life.
Today's discussion will be addressing "Sleep Hygiene in a Pandemic". We hope to help you assess why you're not sleeping well and giving tips for sleeping better and give your body and mind the much-needed rest.
Sleep hygiene is defined as behaviours that one can do to help promote good sleep using behavioural interventions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added a lot of uncertainties to our lives, such as navigating social life on the lifting of the lockdown, financial insufficiency, delay in plans, etc. The mind usually translates uncertainty as stress and unfortunately, research has shown an interrelationship between stress and lack of sleep. One way to get a good night sleep is to address our mental attitude towards this stress and strengthen our minds.
In addition, your lack of sleep could be as a result of your coping strategy towards the pandemic. A number of people have coped with the stress of this period by turning to substance abuse, either excess consumption of alcohol or other stimulants.
The Lack of sleep could also be attributed to poor sleep habits developed before or during the pandemic such as:
· Too much stimulation at bedtime.
· watching television or playing on your phone right before bed.
· Staying up too late.
· Drinking excess liquids in the late evening.
TIPS TO HAVING A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP
· Have a scheduled time for sleeping: Have a constant time for sleeping where you do nothing but rest on the bed and sleep. Schedule your day to a set pattern as it was before the pandemic. Turn off all screens at least one hour before the scheduled time for sleeping. Also reading a book or listening to calming music before bed helps to create a relaxing atmosphere.
· Use the bedroom for sleep and only that: Such that the place is associated with sleep and the brain relaxes on entry. Make the bedroom as comfortable as possible. Block out any bright and distracting light. Avoid working in the bedroom.
· Be Active at daytime: Exercise during the daytime to relieve stress. Research has shown that exercise is a proven way to relieve stress. Avoid exercising close to bedtime. Reserve activities for the daytime. Planning your day helps to make this productive.
· Minimize naps during the day: Try as much as possible to leave sleep for night time. Reduce naps during the daytime and keep it action-filled.
· Eat Healthy: Eating fatty foods close to bedtime can impede sleep. Sugary foods in the form of comfort foods should be avoided. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake as this can scramble sleep patterns and leave you awake when you don't want to be.
· Practice relaxation techniques: Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or a breathing exercise can be incorporated into your bedtime routine. These techniques can help relax and prepare you for sleep. Breathe in and out while your eyes are closed and chant "relax" or create a mantra that helps you relax.