Sleep and Anxiety
In these unprecedented and challenging times, you may find yourself more worried than usual.
Whether it's because you already work from home, you have to take unpaid leave, avoid people or schools close, this whole situation can be extremely stressful. Not only does this affect your mental well-being, but it can also negatively affect your sleep.
There is a close link between sleep and mental health. Lack of sleep can affect mental health, but mental health problems can also affect how well you sleep, both in quantity and quality, so it is extremely important to pay attention to both problems.
We all know that lack of sleep affects our mood, so in this time of insecurity it is important to watch out for changes in yourself, but also the behavior and attitudes of your family members, friends and colleagues.
How to sleep with anxiety
Anxiety can cause your thoughts to run through your mind, tense muscles and a faster heart rate, making it difficult to sleep, whether it's the ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up too early.
There are many different methods and strategies that you can apply at the moment. Try to find what works best for you.
Maintain a routine
You may work from home or have children who are not at school, but try to maintain some control over your bedtime and wake-up schedule, which is important in times of crisis. Not only will the routine focus you on, but it really helps keep your body's internal clock in sync. Do not rest and take a nap whenever you want. This derails your schedule, and extra sleep can make it even harder to fall asleep at night.
Try to stay active
Physical exercise (but not just before bed) can also help you sleep better and lift your spirits. It improves heart health and blood pressure; it builds and strengthens bones and muscles; it helps fight stress and you look and feel better. Exercise does not have to be in the form of a gym visit, you can incorporate physical activity into your daily routine by dancing to music, cleaning, trying online workouts and even going for a short walk.
Expose yourself to as much sunlight as possible
Working from home, social distancing and even self-isolation can mean that you suffer from lack of being outside in natural light - this in turn can negatively affect your mental and physical well-being. When possible, try to go out for a short walk during the day, spend some time in the garden and open the windows to fresh air. If you work from home, try positioning your work area near a window. Natural light, even on a cloudy day, helps reset our internal body clock and makes us more alert.
Avoid alcohol in the evening
You may find that you want to have a sip in the evening to help you relax and get a better night's sleep, but this has its downsides. Although it may initially help you fall asleep faster, you do not get the same quality of sleep after drinking alcohol and will often feel unwell the next day.
The atmosphere in the room is key
Don't neglect the basics when it comes to better sleep. The atmosphere in your bedroom plays a role in achieving a good night's sleep. It should be cool, quiet and dark and make sure you sleep on a comfortable, supportive bed and a quality mattress. Leave the computers and clutter outside the bedroom - this is a room where you should feel calm and free.
Stay away from electronic devices
It is a well-known fact that we must stop using electronics one hour before bed because of the blue light emitted. However, we advise you not to use them, as the activities we do on them can keep us awake and alert. Given the current crisis, it may seem that watching news or social media shows is quite disturbing and upsetting, so avoid watching before bed if you are likely to feel more anxious.
And breathe ...
Finding ways to relax before you go to sleep is key, especially when you feel anxious or stressed. Practice relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises. Some may prefer to use guided meditation, mindfulness or white noise to feel relaxed, others may prefer to read or listen to soothing music. Do what makes you feel good.
Don't struggle in these uncertain times.
Take care of yourself and stay safe!