“How to improve sleep” : Being at home during COVID-19 Lock down has many challenges, but most common complaints that people are reporting is sleep problem. As per Psychologists, good quality sleep is essential for positive emotions, energy, alertness, concentration, and stamina. During lock down people are having disturb routine, anxiety and stress and limited physical activity. People are having difficulty in sleeping and many do not feel fresh when they wake up. Many people are working from home, some are spending long hours on social media, watching news repeatedly, playing games all this has an impact on quality of sleep.
So, are you also the one who is suffering from sleep problem during lock down and searching for “How to improve sleep?”, if yes, then this article would be useful for you. Following are the tips for improving sleep:
Avoid caffeine & nicotine especially late in the night :
Caffeine/ Nicotine being CNS stimulant lead to arousal and leads to initial insomnia. Use of such products would interfere with your sleep. Habitual Coffee drinkers or smokers can have around four hours delay of sleep onset. It has been seen , such people start consuming sleeping pills to counter the effects of coffee. That is another habit forming issue. And you may fall in lopp of “how to improve sleep?”
Limit your media exposure :
An information overloading is very common in this digital age. Due to lack of a structured day, people are clinging with their digital devices. But the information is not knowledge! If you are not from health background, there is high chance that you may not understand the data presented n that may lead to unnecessary anxiety symptoms. So, limit your media exposure , to a short duration and only to the reliable and easy to understand sources. do not keep TV or Laptops in bed room. Once you are able to control this you will not needed to ask yourself “how to improve sleep?”
Be physically active during the day :
Make your body tiered enough to crave for sleep and rest. Due to lock down, commuting to work place and that staircases to different floors is limited. The passive exercises are no more there. So time has come up for active exercises including picking up the house hold chores . At least 30 minutes of exercise every day is recommended by Psychologists. Otherwise the question of “how to improve sleep” will not go away.
Have a routine :
Sleeping late and getting up late is the common phenomenon during these days. Watching a web series or a show or a movie till late in night with the idea that its a holiday tomorrow is common. BUT, that is the biggest fallacy. when we compromise our routines architecture , everything goes out of hands. To have a good sleep, your mind must know that a fixed routine has to be followed.
Avoid smoking & alcohol:
Again these substances are counter productive to sleep. Nicotine has been discussed but alcohol which many people consider “sleep inducer”, actually compromises the QUALITY of sleep. More over , if your body is habitual of alcohol, there can be a withdrawal anxiety that may lead to insomnia.
De-clutter the mind :
Other than just information overloading, there may be many issues which are popping up in minds of people, may be work related , health related , relationships related. convey your self , that all genuine concerns can be taken up in day, and not to be carried to bed. You can consult a Clinical Psychologist or a counselor if you are not able to distract on your own.
Avoid exercise during the four hours before bed time :
Exercise i good. it makes you tiered, but it makes you excited due to secretion of joy hormones. So a balanced approach is a must and for that an exercise regimen should be performed at least four hours before going to bed.
Set aside a time for relaxation techniques and engage in deep breathing :
Deep breathing exercises are known to be relaxing. other relaxation exercises like JPMR etc are also effective in sleep induction. You can learn them and achieve a better sleep.
Use bed only to sleep :
A very essential part of sleep hygiene is that your mind must be trained to identify your bed as a place of sleep. If you carry your digital device or food at your bed , it will be confused. So, maintain a strict instruction for your brain that ” BED IS FOR SLEEP ONLY”
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time :
As mentioned earlier, a routine has to be followed. our body has a biological clock. It regulates the timely demands of body like hunger , sleep etc. let us not fiddle with this. Any alteration of biological clock leads to slow and subtle negative impact on our metabolism.
Avoid heavy & large meals in the evening :
Difficult to digest food may lead to bloating. protein rich food may lead to excessive gas formation. excessive spices can lead to dyspepsia and heart burn. hence, dinner must be light and free from any possibilities of dyspepsia , bloating and regurgitation.
Stop using your phone two hours before your sleep:
Again, currently the world is going through a massive state of sleep deprivation due to smart phones. we tend to carry our phones to every where. But to carry it to bed is a bad idea. Make sure you leave your phone 2 hours before sleep and engage into relaxation exercises.
Sleep for minimum 7 to 8 hrs every day :
A lack of routine can give us temptation to not leave the bed. but , excess of everything is a bad choice. A prolonged stay on bed may lead to insomnia. our body is softwared to have a sleep for about 7-8 hours, as per sleep experts. So if this extra 2 hours of morning sleep will reduce 2 hours from night sleep. hence you may find it difficult to fall asleep .
Remember habits can be modified and changes. This only needs your intent to practice the above mentioned tips.