Like most of us, you’re probably doing your part by staying at home and social distancing to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. If you are, that’s great!
Understandably, this situation is stressful and scary, and may be causing some of us to lose sleep. But it’s important for your long-term health to get not only enough sleep, but enough good quality sleep. Poor sleep is linked to a variety of health issues that can develop over time, including weight gain, loss of muscle mass, greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, among others.
Even though the quarantine is temporary, consistently getting enough high quality sleep over the next few weeks will have a huge impact on your health down the road. Here are a few tips to help you sleep better, longer, and deeper.
Exercise during the Day
Exercising at home can be a real challenge for some. But it’s essential to try to stay as fit as possible. Not only will this help you maintain weight and muscle mass, but it will also help you sleep at night. When working out from home, it’s good to try to do a mixture of stretching and cardio. If you have some large empty bottles, like a gallon milk carton, you can fill them with water in order to create some hand weights for muscle strengthening, too.
But be sure to all your exercise during the day! While exercising before bed may seem like a good way to tire yourself out (especially if you’ve been binging Netflix all day), but it will likely have the opposite effect. When you exercise, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline, two hormones that work to keep you awake.
Keep up Your Routine
In times of stress, it can be calming to keep a routine. Many of us are not used to being at home for long stretches of time. If you’re not working right now, it may be tempting to just slip into weekend couch potato mode or just not get out of bed. This can have a lasting toll on both your physical and mental health, and your sleep will likely suffer as a result.
But by maintaining a schedule and routine, you can actually train your body to be tired. That means getting up, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating meals, and going to bed, all at the same time each day weekday and weekend. This will send signals to your body and brain of what to do, which will in turn help regulate your sleep.
Put Down the Electronics and Practice Mindfulness
We recently talked about practicing mindfulness to help you cope during these stressful times. It turns out that bedtime is a perfect time to practice mindfulness. The first step, though, is to stop using electronics at least one hour before you go to bed. This will limit the amount of blue light your brain takes in, which tells it to stay awake.
As we mentioned in our previous post, mindfulness is about breathing, opening our minds and our hearts. When it’s time to go to bed, practice focusing on your breath, listening to any ambient sounds in your house, and letting any errant thoughts come and then let them go as you continue to breathe.
If you’re feeling stressed or worried during this challenging time, we can help. Schedule an online consultation with us to discuss your concerns, get advice, and learn some tips and tricks to help you get through the quarantine.