During the second lockdown of Melbourne, I am noticing the impact that the stress of lockdown is having on people’s sleep. Multiple people have reported waking at 3am for no specific reason and not being able to get back to sleep. Did you know that poor sleep can impact on your ability to deal with stress?
I thought I would put together a few strategies to support falling and hopefully staying asleep.
Strategies to support a good night’s sleep in your environment.
Is your room dark? Sleeping in a dark room tells your body its night time and helps set your internal clock. Blinds and curtains can help to make a room dark; if you don’t have them try an eye mask.
Charge your mobile phone in the bathroom. I use my phone as an alarm like lots of people do and it’s tempting to look at the screen if I’m finding it hard to fall asleep. Putting in the bathroom to charge also means when the alarm goes off its harder to hit the snooze button.
Room temperature – it’s tempting go to sleep in a warm room, but that may wake you up in the middle of the night in a sweat. Cooler rooms with warm blankets tell your body its time to shut down for the day and rest.
Bed is for sleep and sex only. Find yourself watching TV in bed before you go to sleep? It’s not helping your sleep pattern. If you watch TV in bed or work/study, it tells your brain that when you’re in bed it’s time to do something that is not sleep. If you can, take the TV out of your room, and if possible no work/study in your bedroom either.
Listen to calming music – did you know that there is music designed specifically to reduce your heart rate, relax you and support you to sleep? Perhaps try the song Weightless and see if this helps (my advice is don’t drive and listen to this song as it has been found to cause drowsiness.)
Strategies to support a good night’s sleep in your every day life.
Move your body – this can help make you tired and support you to fall and stay asleep. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can make a difference if you feel time poor; also if you exercise outside it helps you achieve the goal of 15 minutes daylight too.
Bedtime Ritual– I know it sounds boring! But with many of us working and studying from home and the days blending into each other, this is a time when routine is most needed. This can be as simple as brushing your teeth, putting on your PJs, and hopping into bed. Actions tell our bodies how to behave and having a bedtime routine reminds your body its time to sleep.
Go to bed at the same time every night, that means weekends too. This is part of the routine to tell your body when to be awake and when to be asleep.
Get up at the same time everyday, you guessed it this means weekends too. This will help tell your body when designated sleep time is.
Get 15 minutes of daylight every day. Do you know that you have an internal body clock? Getting natural day light helps set that clock and helps with sleep patterns.
Drink a glass of warm milk or chamomile tea – these are thought to have a calming effect and aid sleep.
Visit your GP – If you are having trouble sleeping for an extended period of time visit your GP. They maybe able to offer a treatment plan to support your individual situation.