Life’s demands before COVID-19, like keeping up with work, relationships, health, and finances, were already enough to negatively impact sleep for millions. Today, we are learning to deal with new stresses including how to live in isolation, along with the constant worry and uncertainty of the future. Despite our best efforts to remain focused on the mundane and simple pleasures of life – if for nothing else but to keep our sanity – our thoughts are diverted by fears. Getting to sleep and staying asleep seems impossible.
But preventing and recovering from the COVID-19 virus requires our immune system to be as strong as possible. Sleep is a crucial factor that cannot be overlooked.
If you are having trouble sleeping, here are some actionable steps that may help you wind down and get a good night’s rest.
1. Stick with a routine.
Although our lives turned upside down in just a matter of days, keeping a routine, particularly a nighttime routine, is important to regulate your body’s internal clock. Aim for a bedtime that will allow 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
2. Turn it off.
We all want to stay informed about the COVID-19 pandemic, but a continuous barrage of negative news can have a profound effect on sleep, mental health, and immune system. Avoid watching the news before turning in for the night.
3. Avoid caffeinated beverages after 3 pm.
4. Get regular physical exercise.
Regular exercise will help tire you out and reduce stress levels. If you can safely exercise outside while keeping within today’s social distancing guidelines set by the CDC, try to do so every day. If that’s not possible, look to the web for home workout appropriate to your fitness level.
5. Avoid artificial light at night.
Light from the computer screen at night may interfere with melatonin production.
Quieting the mind with a regular meditation routine can help shed the day’s worries and fears.
7. Breathe deeply*.
8. Talk to your doctor about sleep supplements.
Sleep aids can help individuals who have difficulty falling asleep but may come with side effects. It’s also very important to note that the FDA does not regulate the supplement industry with the result that some products may have labeling inaccuracies. For these reasons, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any type of sleep aid. Click here for a list of supplements to help regulate sleep, naturally.
9. Try herbal teas.
Herbal teas are a very gentle way to reduce stress and anxiety that also promotes sleep. They have been used across the globe for centuries, and are very accessible to all of us. Click here for a list of herbal teas recommended for sleep.
We hope the tips above will make a difference in your sleep routine. We are all going through the hardest of times, but remember, you are not alone. Most importantly, please call your healthcare provider right away if you feel overwhelmed and are in need of help.
*If you are a patient of The Kaplan Center, our psychotherapist, Jodi Brayton, is currently offering these services via cloud visit/telemedicine appointments. Please call today for more information: 703-532-4892.
We are here for you, and we want to help.
Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892 x2