As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and sow anxiety, getting a good night’s sleep may be more important now than ever. A good night’s sleep is paramount for your health as it plays a direct role in your body’s ability to boost its immune system. That’s why I’d like to share 6 tips for better sleep during a pandemic.
Thanks to research, we now know that lack of sleep can reduce our immune system, increase inflammation in the body, and make us more vulnerable to various viruses. So, in addition to all the recommended hygiene tips and social distancing, consider your own sleep health as a way to stay protected. Here are a few helpful tips to help you wind down and get a good night’s rest.
Maintain a Regular Routine
Experts from The Sleep Foundation recommend sticking to a scheduled sleep routine. Yes, that means going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time — even on weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall and stay asleep for the night.
Don’t Nap Excessively
My four-year old can attest to this: Long daytime naps can interfere with your sleep! If you choose to nap, limit yourself up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day. If you work nights, however, you may want to nap late in the day before work.
Get Some Exercises (Just Not Before Bed)
Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly—as long as it’s done at the right time. I learned this mistake the hard way when I decided to take a nighttime run and ended up with insomnia the rest of the night. That’s because exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain. This is fine, unless you’re trying to fall asleep. The Sleep Foundation recommends to finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.
Avoid Drinking Excessive Alcohol
Alcohol can make you sleepy at bedtime, but beware. After its initial effects wear off, it will make you wake up more often overnight. Instead, consider ingesting warm milk or chamomile tea before going to bed. It’s healthier for you, too.
Light Plays A Crucial Role
The National Sleep Foundation recommends spending time (if you can) outside in natural sunlight for at least a few minutes each day as it has a positive effect on your circadian rhythm. Also, be mindful of your screen time as the blue light from your television, tablet, or smartphone can interfere with your body’s natural sleep process before going to bed.
It might seem like a small factor, but practicing kindness and connection can reduce stress and its harmful effects on mood and sleep. You can use technology to stay in touch with friends and family to increase social connections while practicing social distancing. To learn more about how connection plays a vital role in your health, read “How Can a Healthy Friendship Benefit You?”
Did these tips help you with your sleep? Is there a sleep tip I should cover that works for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts at email@example.com. And please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to receive more helpful tips straight to your inbox each Friday.