Everyone suffers the odd night of bad sleep, but it seems that as a nation we are now reporting long-term sleep problems. With many taking to Google to research cures for insomnia.
Not sleeping well, can take many different turns:
Struggling to get to sleep.
Waking early, and having difficulties getting back to sleep.
Tossing & turning, and generally waking not feeling rested.
So, why is this happening?
The ongoing pandemic is causing a lot of anxiety:
Money worries and job concerns.
Juggling working from home, home-schooling, chores etc.
Lack of daylight.
No access to normal stress releases, like seeing family, friends, going to the gym, shopping and more.
Obviously, this situation is still ongoing, so what can we do to improve our sleep patterns?
Start first with good sleep hygiene: A dark room. Bedroom at the right temperature. No electronics in the bedroom. Stick to a similar go to bed/get up wake time. Have a wind-down routine – bath, hot drink etc.
If you have trouble sleeping, try to stay in bed and at least rest. If you can’t stay in bed, then get up – but don’t expose yourself to blue light from a phone or television. This will just make you more wakeful. Try a quiet activity like reading – then go back to bed and try to sleep again.
If night time is when you do your ‘worrying’. Try to give yourself 15 minutes in the day when you give yourself permission to worry. Look realistically at the concerns, trying to do something about those that you can impact, and learning to let the rest go. You can also try writing a short list before bedtime of anything concerning you. In the hope of not dwelling on it through the night. If thoughts do crop up, try to learn to acknowledge them ‘as just a thought’, it’s not something you necessarily need to do anything about.
Try to do some form of exercise each day, preferably whilst getting access to daylight. It is also really helpful to have some personal interactions each day, whether that is a phone call, video-chat or having a chit-chat at the supermarket check-out. We are built to have personal contact on a daily basis.
Lastly, and this is not easy – is to not get too hung-up about not sleeping. Sometimes, the more pressure you put on yourself to sleep, and the longer you go with an upset sleep routine, the harder it will be to get back to normal. Take care of the above steps, and generally in time things will normalise.