How Do I Get Better Sleep During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with an abundance of challenges. In addition to managing your new work, school, and personal schedules, it may also affect your sleep patterns. For example, some of you may be sleeping a lot more than usual or not sleeping enough, yet still feeling tired.

Sleep is an essential function we need for our overall health and well being. This allows our bodies to perform vital functions like healing and memory storage.

Many things can interrupt our sleep, including anxiety, a disturbance in circadian rhythm, environmental sounds, etc. During the pandemic, there are additional new concerns, such as thoughts of uncertainty, as well as having limited options of where you can go and what you can do. All of these things can impact your sleep. So here are some ways to improve the quality of your sleep.

1. Develop and maintain a consistent circadian rhythm

Your circadian rhythm is the cycle of your wake and sleep time. Try to keep these times consistent.

2. Get enough sleep

For the most part, adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.

3. Establish a nighttime routine

Prepare yourself for sleep by doing some kind of ritual each night. Some examples include washing your face, brushing your teeth, changing into pajamas, listening to calming sounds like rain or gentle music, reading a book, whatever helps you feel relaxed and ready to sleep.

4. Create an ideal sleep environment

Being too hot, near bright lights, or loud sounds can prevent you from getting restful sleep. Make sure your room is as dark as possible and set your room at a comfortable temperature (experts suggest from 60-67 degrees) for optimal sleep.

5. Move your body

In general, exercise can help improve REM sleep. Rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep, is when your eyes move, your pulse quickens, and your breathing gets faster. This sleep can result in dreams and is important to cycle through at night to get restful sleep. In addition, light exercise such as yoga, walking, stretching, or similar can improve your overall sleep.

6. Manage your stress

Find unique and creative ways to manage stress while staying safe at home. Doing things such as art, reading, music, cooking, or other things you enjoy can help you relax and decompress.

7. Avoid drinking close to bedtime

Caffeinated or alcoholic beverages can affect your ability to fall and stay asleep. Also, drinking any liquids right before you go to sleep can lead to bathroom trips in the middle of the night So try to minimize this type of drinking too close to bedtime.

8. Turn off screens before bed

Try to avoid screens (phones, TVs, tablets, etc.), or other bright lights, up to two hours before you go to sleep.

9. Skip long naps

Taking power naps (20 minutes) during the day can be beneficial. But long naps or sporadic naps during the day can throw off your wake/sleep cycle, so try to minimize them.

Problems with sleep during these stress-provoking times can cause added obstacles. However, finding ways to get the best sleep possible can help you to better manage your stress and keep your overall wellness in balance.

Would you like to speak to one of our professionals about sleep problems, or any other issues?

We invite you to call the Center for Coping and set up an appointment for a free face-to-face or telephone consultation.

You can speak to one of our Coping Counselors and learn more about how you can help yourself to improve the quality of your life.

Feel free to call the Center at (516) 822-3131, or e-mail us for further information at info@coping.com.

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