Could you benefit from some more sleep tips? While the order to stay indoors for most of the day protects us from the virus, it’s impacting our health in other ways. Perhaps most concerningly, lockdown is having a major impact on the nation’s quality of sleep. This is particularly important at the moment, as sleep is directly linked to your immune system and your body’s ability to repair and fight infection. It also plays a vital role in maintaining good mental health, which is a pressing issue, too. As we work towards getting back to the gym very soon, taking care of your overall health will help you put your best foot forward when you do step through those gym doors once again.
To help you improve your restless nights and drowsy days, we’re going to share some top tips for getting a good level of sleep:
Maintain a normal sleeping routine
One of the most important sleep tips you can implement is to keep to your usual sleep routine as much as possible. Your body clock needs repetition to prepare you to feel awake and tired, so sticking to the same bedtime and wake up time is essential for preserving normality.
Even if you’re able to sleep in, whether that’s because you’re on furlough or don’t need to commute any more, try not to get into the habit of going to bed and waking later. Likewise, avoid taking extra-long naps over 90 minutes in the afternoon or evening, as this will impact your circadian rhythm.
Get a healthy amount of sunlight
Under lockdown conditions, we need to stay inside our homes for most of the day and avoid making non-essential trips. This also means that it’s more difficult to get healthy amounts of exposure to the sun, something that’s essential for the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep patterns. With reduced levels of this chemical, our body finds it harder to drift off on time. This might be one fo the more commonly forgotten sleep tips, but can make a real difference to your wellbeing.
To maximise the amount of sun we get during the day, try to head outside as often as you can. Go for a walk or just drink a cup of tea outside your front door during daylight hours and don’t wear any sunglasses, as your body uses light hitting your eyes as a signal to produce melatonin. If possible, try to go outside at the same time each day to help build a routine for your body clock. If you’re really struggling to get outside, make sure to keep the curtains open, try to work near a window and get as much fresh air into your home as possible. You won’t get all the benefits of sunlight through a window, but you will get the light.
Find ways to de-stress before bed
Rather than having a lie in or napping at the risk of breaking your routine, it’s a good idea to use the extra time around the house during lockdown to engage in activities that you love and that you know will help you to relax. Doing so will ensure you are nice and destressed before bed, giving you the best chance of drifting off to sleep without suffering from anxiety.
For instance, you could spend more time on your favourite hobby, or even try something new that will occupy time. Creative arts, such as writing, drawing, or knitting, are all great for relaxing, as are wellbeing focused activities like meditation, yoga, or even taking a bath.
Think about your surroundings
Because we’re stuck indoors for longer periods, including days spent working remotely for many, the surroundings of your home are likely to have a greater impact on your sleep.
For one, it’s important to have a workspace that is separate from your bedroom, if possible, which will ensure your mind doesn’t begin associating the space with work, rather than sleep. Should it be impossible to set up in another location, try to avoid sitting on your bed until you’re ready to relax in the evening. It may sound silly, but it can help to put distance between the two concepts.
You’ll also need to make sure that your bedroom is providing the perfect environment for rest. This means keeping it on the cooler side, between 16-18°C, and making the room as dark as possible. It’s also worth paying attention to the comfort of your bed itself, as it should allow you to sleep without any aches and pains in the morning. Consider investing in a new mattress if your old one is uncomfortable or, failing that, adding a mattress topper to give it some extra support.
Lockdown is a difficult time, with many things to worry about, but it’s still worth protecting your sleep to make sure you’re fit and healthy (and not tired!). Follow these sleep tips and you will be giving yourself the best chance of getting a restful night on a regular basis. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for regular updates or follow our Facebook or Instagram pages for daily inspiration.