Have you been struggling to get to sleep recently due to the Coronavirus pandemic? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one, over 79% of millennials are also currently feeling the strain. Whether it’s anxiety from watching the news a few too many times a day, to the stresses of home-schooling or financial worries the Covid-19 pandemic is keeping a lot of us awake at night.
Colin A Espie, Professor of Sleep Medicine at Oxford University says many of us are experiencing higher levels of anxiety due to not being able to get sleep during the lockdown. But what ways can we try and calm the mind to ease us into a better sleep?
1. Don’t Eat Dinner Late
Our body clocks are all over the place at the moment. Being indoors gives us more opportunity to opt for bigger meals and to snack more, leading to eating dinner later than usual. Eating late at night sends blood sugars racing, so try to have dinner before 8 pm to allow your body to digest the food rather than heading to bed with an uncomfortably full stomach.
2. Avoid Alcohol
You know that saying, I’ll just have a nightcap, but did you know having numerous drinks before bed could actually really mess up your sleeping patterns?
In the first half of the night, when the body is breaking down the alcohol consumed, studies show that people spend more time in a deep sleep. You would think that would be a good thing, right? Wrong. The body functions best in a total REM (Rapid Eye Movement) AKA – light sleep throughout the entire night. REM sleep, which gets shortchanged in the first half of the night under the influence of alcohol, is important for mental restoration, including memory and emotional processing.
During the second half of the night, sleep becomes more actively disturbed. As alcohol is metabolized and its effects start to wear off, the body moves backwards from the deep to light sleep, interrupting the flow and quality of sleep. This then makes you more likely to wake early in the morning and not be able to fall back to sleep.
3. Take a hot shower and use essential oils
A recent Thai study looked at 20 participants and lavender’s impact on their health. It found a reduction in blood pressure and in heart rate. Those who inhaled lavender oil said they had more energy and were more relaxed.
The Thisworks’ deepsleep range, made with lavender, vetivert and camomile essential oils, is an absolute God Send. When independently tested on 200 participants with sleep problems, aged 18+ over a 14 day period compared to a placebo, 94% felt less restless during the night, 92% felt they had a deeper night’s sleep and 89% woke less often in the night. Worth a try right? Check out their entire sleep range here
4. Turn the thermostat down
There’s nothing worse than feeling overheated in bed. In fact, a recent study by Laurens Reinke found that patients are sleeping so poorly in hospital Intensive Care Units because the rooms are too warm.
According to the National Sleep Foundation the suggested bedroom temperature should be between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius for optimal sleep.
With all the negativity in the news and social media, it’s important to firstly give yourself a break from the news and what’s happening around you, even if its for 10-15 minutes.
Lie flat on your back, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and focus on five inhales and five exhales. Continue to focus on your breathing and bring your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into worries about the past or future. This will the lower your heart rate making you feel more relaxed.
This is one of the most effective meditation videos I’ve found n YouTube that works for me.
What helps you sleep better at night?