If you are having difficulty falling and staying asleep lately, you are not alone. The effects of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis are wreaking havoc on the sleep schedules of many. It is understandable that uncertainty about this challenging time may have you wondering how to get good sleep. However, it is important that you are intentional about getting enough rest so that you can keep yourself as healthy as possible during this time. Not only is adequate sleep crucial for maintaining a healthy mental and emotional state, but it is also important for keeping your immune system functioning at optimum levels.
How to Get Good Sleep
The good news is that all hope is not lost if you are struggling to get enough rest as the world continues to go to battle against this virus. Here are seven ways that you can ensure that your body is getting the sleep that it needs during the global pandemic.
Stick With a Consistent Schedule
With so many people working and learning from home, the days and the hours can begin to blur together. This makes it difficult to stick to a regular schedule. It is no surprise that normal sleep patterns are being negatively affected by this lack of consistency. In order to enjoy consistent sleep patterns, it is important to stick to a regular daily schedule.
Turn Off the News
It is tempting to fall victim to the 24-hour news cycle. With the crisis evolving at a rapid pace, it is understandable to want to stay informed. However, it is also important that you step away from the news regularly in order to give your mind the chance to quiet down. Too much news will only serve to raise your anxiety and make it more challenging to fall asleep. Pick one time each day to gather your news and then be diligent about using the rest of your time to decompress from the situation.
There has never been a more important time to take care of your physical health by regularly engaging in exercise. Getting out in the morning for exercise will also help to calibrate your natural circadian rhythms and boost immunity because you are exposed to sunlight. If you do not feel comfortable leaving your home, there are a variety of online exercise programs that you can stream so that you get in exercise.
Take a Melatonin Supplement
Taking a melatonin supplement is a natural way to ensure that your body is best prepared to sleep soundly. The body secretes melatonin later in the day when the natural circadian rhythms signal that sleep is near. Darkness stimulates the body to produce more melatonin while sunlight signals that it is time to decrease production. You can take a melatonin supplement in the evening to support the body’s natural tendency to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Watch Your Diet
Use this time at home to be intentional about nourishing your body with healthy foods. Focus on eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins. If you are having difficulties falling asleep, be sure to examine your caffeine usage. Too much caffeine throughout the day or any amount in the evening hours can significantly disrupt your normal sleep and wake cycles. Too much alcohol can also severely interrupt sleep cycles. You may fall asleep easier after a night of drinking, but you are also more likely to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to fall back asleep.
Set Up an Ideal Sleeping Environment
Creating a quiet and tranquil sleeping environment is imperative to getting quality rest. Start with making sure that the temperature in your bedroom is ideal for sleeping. This varies between individuals but most people do best in a cooler environment. It is also important to block out extraneous noise. A white noise machine is particularly helpful in achieving this goal. There are also white noise apps that you can download on your smartphone to provide the same results.
Along this same line of thought, it is important to not use your bed for anything other than sleeping. Trying to work from home while in bed will only teach your subconscious that the bed is for other purposes, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
If you are like most people, you have a lot of things racing through your mind these days. Many people find great success in implementing some type of meditation into their daily routine. Any type of progressive relaxation routine will yield big dividends if calming your mind before bedtime is your goal. To do this, you must also be committed to turning off your electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime.
There is no doubt that we are all navigating unchartered territory these days. You will be better able to handle the rigors of this challenging situation better if you learn how to get good sleep. Being intentional about getting the rest that you need will put you in a better position to deal with the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.