Since covid-19 came into our lives last year, everything has turned upside down. Our routines have gone for a toss, and most of us have been struggling to get adequate sleep. The problem has only exacerbated during the second wave, more so with the increase in fatalities and a rise in serious cases. Anxiety levels have touched the roof, and it is becoming hard for people to process emotions. With such unprecedented changes coming into play, sleep has become underrated, even though everyone knows its benefits. It is important not just for physical health, but also mental and emotional health.
What’s important to remember is that millions of people were already suffering from insomnia, but the pandemic has aggravated it. It is also called corona somnia or covidsomnia to denote sleep problems that are associated with the virus. There are several reasons why sleep problems have become more prominent now — work from home, lack of routines, and high levels of stress.
Kamna Chibber, Head of Department, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, says, “If we look at the current scenario, there is a lot of anxiousness, worry, fear, apprehension and preoccupation about how things will transpire. With the constant barrage of information about situations pertaining to the pandemic, there is a sense of being constantly overwhelmed with how bad and difficult things can get. This preoccupation leads to excess thinking which affects not just moods and thought processes, but can also have a negative impact on sleep. The thoughts can continue to run in the background and affect an individual’s ability to get rest and adequate sleep.”
It is important to have a consistent routine, even under uncertain circumstances. Make sure to have the same wake-up, wind-down and bedtime routine.
“Build routines that also incorporate some sort of an unwinding and relaxing ritual for you. Ensure that you attempt to switch off from media and social media at night to be able to get a mental break from all the news around you and this digital detox would also facilitate better sleep,” adds Chibber.
According to elssp specialists, it is important to reserve your bed only for sleep and sex. That means working from home should not be working from your bed. Also, changing your sheets and pillows, and making your bed regularly will help improve sleep.
“It is important during such times to be prudent about the type, amount and source from which one is consuming information. Avoid information overload particularly towards the latter part of the day. Instead, look at listening to music or reading as relaxing activities that you can incorporate at the end of the day. And keep sharing with friends and family about the experiences you are having. Social support would go a long way in being able to cope with situations,” adds Chibber.
Try and spend some time in natural light, which is said to have positive effects on your circadian rhythm. Open windows and blinds to let light into your home during the day. Last but not the least, cut down on the use of gadgets at night. That’s because the blue light produced by electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers, is said to interfere with the body’s natural sleep-promoting processes.
Also, try and stay as physically active as possible, consume a nutritious diet, and contact your doctor, if nothing works.