With all of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, it’s easy to let your anxieties get the better of you at night. Stress and sleep are often related; when you’re constantly worried, you could end up developing insomnia. Consequently, your body’s immune system will suffer, and your days will be filled with worry and exhaustion. To maintain a healthy body and mind, you need to be proactive in getting a full 8 hours of sleep. If you need help calming yourself before bed, try following these 5 tips.
1. Stop Using Electronics at Least 90 Minutes Before Bedtime
Electronic screens give off a blue light that suppresses melatonin, a hormone that’s needed to control the sleep cycle. Consequently, looking at your phone or staying on your computer right before bedtime could make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Wearing glasses to block blue light before bed can help, but it’s better to avoid electronic devices altogether while you’re preparing your body for bed. Think about your usual bedtime and plan to turn off all electronics about 90 minutes beforehand.
2. Think About Things You’re Grateful For
Negative thoughts can put your body into fight or flight mode. Try focusing on positive things instead, such as your family or a favorite hobby. Not only will this help lower your stress levels, but it also encourages positive dreams, thus improving the quality of deep sleep (the all-important restorative phase of the sleep cycle).
3. Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
When you go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, it makes it easier for your body to maintain the cycle. Go to bed a designated time every evening and get up once your alarm goes off. Try not to nap if you can help it.
4. Avoid Coffee and Alcohol
When you’re already stressed, the negative side effects of caffeine become all the more pronounced, and relaxing becomes a much more difficult task. And while alcohol seems like it helps you fall asleep, you will not be getting quality rest, and the resulting hangover won’t do anything to improve your mood. Resist the temptation and limit your intake of these beverages, especially in the evening.
5. Try Taking a Bath or a Shower
Of course, if you want to stay safe from COVID-19, regular bathing is a must for washing off germs. As a side benefit, you’ll also increase your body’s temperature; as you cool off, melatonin is released, helping your body prepare for a good night’s rest.
There are plenty of other ways you can manage your stress or improve your nighttime habits. If you think you’re having trouble going to sleep during a pandemic, think about your daily routine and consider different solutions that could ultimately help you enjoy sweet dreams again.
About the Author
Dr. Dustin C. Lively loves helping people, which is why he was happy to discover that he could use his dental knowledge to help people suffering from sleep disorders. His practice, EZ Sleep Solutions, specializes in identifying and treating sleep apnea so that his patients in Mangum can sleep soundly. If you have questions about the quality of your sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic, get in touch with Dr. Lively through his website or call (580) 782-2027.