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How to improve sleep during lockdown

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Lisa Artis

Deputy CEO, The Sleep Charity

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted life in so many ways – holidays, get-togethers, work and even our sleep patterns. If you’re one of the many who has been struggling with their sleep during lockdown, these tips may help.

A good night’s rest has a significant impact on our mood and mental wellbeing, so it’s really important to be sleeping well. We all need to feel at the top of our game to deal with all the added pressures of isolation, being housebound, home schooling and worrying about family and finances.

Stay active:

Take the opportunity to exercise. While you may not be able to travel, you can get out and walk/run/cycle every day. If you are completely in isolation, home exercise – workout videos on YouTube, gardening and even housework – can really help your ability to sleep. 

Avoid anxiety:

Not surprisingly, we’re all feeling anxious and this makes it all the more difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake up too early. Yoga, deep breathing, a walk outside or talking on the phone/video-calling friends and family can all help. Try distracting yourself by reading, watching a good movie or even – if you have time on your hands – taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill.

Keep computers and clutter out of the bedroom – this is a room where you should feel calm and clear headed.

Keep a routine:

If you are working from home, try not to use the bedroom as your office as it blurs the boundaries between work and rest. Keep a normal routine by getting up at the same time and having regular lunch breaks.

Getting natural light:

Working from home, social distancing or even self-isolating may mean you’re struggling to enjoy being out in the natural light, which can negatively affect your mental and physical wellbeing. Try to go out for a daily walk, spend some time in the garden and open windows for fresh air.

Avoid a night-time tipple:

While it may initially help you fall asleep more quickly, you don’t get the same quality of sleep after drinking alcohol and may feel unrefreshed the next day.

Keep the bedroom as a sanctuary:

The bedroom environment plays an important part in achieving a good night’s sleep. Make sure you sleep on a comfortable, supportive bed and keep the room cool, quiet and dark. Keep computers and clutter out of the bedroom – this is a room where you should feel calm and clear headed.

Stay away from devices:

It’s well known that we should stop using electronics an hour before bedtime because of the blue light emitted. However, it’s also important not to use them in bed as this activity can keep us awake and alert. Given the current crisis, watching the news or social media feeds can prove quite distressing, so avoid doing so in the run up to bedtime.

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