With the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people have been exhibiting disrupted sleep. This has been dubbed, “coronasomnia” because of the impact of the pandemic. While sleeping poorly might have been the norm for some before the pandemic, the stress, anxiety and disruptions of normal routines made our sleep worse. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, that sleep continues to deteriorate. But there are things that can help.
If you don’t fall asleep right away, move
There is a 25-minute rule that everyone should follow when it comes to sleep. If you get into bed and can’t fall asleep within 25 minutes, then you should get out of bed. The same goes for if you wake up at night and can’t get back to sleep. Doing a quiet activity that can calm your mind and make you drowsy is key.
Say goodbye to your worries
This might be trickier than the 25-minute rule, but it is important. When we continue to worry about various things, it impedes our sleep. One way to overcome this is to write your worries on a blank piece of paper two hours before bed each night. After writing down your thoughts you can either leave the paper as a to do list or simply throw it away as a way to throw your worries away. The act of writing your thoughts down is a symbolic gesture that can help calm your mind and help you sleep.
Don’t watch TV in bed
When we watch TV or scroll through social media on our phones in bed, it disrupts our sleep. In fact, the blue light often tells your brain that it is time to wake up, so say goodbye to that habit. Keep your phone habits outside the bedroom and try to watch TV in another room before heading to bed. It will help.
Wake up at the same time
Our bodies have a daily circadian rhythm that they follow. When you wake up at different times, it throws that off and disrupts your sleep. What is best to do is to wake up at the same time every day. Same with going to bed. And if it is the weekend, try not to sleep in because that will impact your overall sleep as well. Consistency is key.
Get sunlight every morning
If you’re not yet back in the office, you might find that you are spending all day inside. However, it is important to get sunlight every morning because it shuts down the release of melatonin, which is the hormone that promotes sleep. When the sun hits your eye, it sends a signal to your brain to turn the melatonin off. Try to get about 15 minutes of sunlight every morning.
Make time for exercise
Some people have cut back on physical activity during the pandemic, but exercise is one of the easiest ways to improve your sleep. Many studies have noted that regardless of the type or intensity, if you exercise daily, it helps you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
Skip caffeine after 2pm
If you are someone who drinks caffeine daily, be mindful of when you consume it. The impact of caffeine can stick around for six to eight hours. That means if you drink coffee at 4 p.m., you will still have caffeine in your system late into the night. Avoiding caffeine after 2 p.m. is key to improving your sleep.
To learn more about how to improve your sleep, contact us at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia.