Have you found yourself not sleeping well? Has it only happened in the last year or so?
More and more people are experiencing depression and anxiety, particularly around sleep. It's gotten its own name coronasomnia, or the inability to sleep because of COVID.
What Is Coronasomnia?
Doctors don't recognize this name (at least not yet). They know formal insomnia and other sleep disorder names, recognizing that coronasomnia is a catch-all phrase for many things that are going on.
Whatever they're calling it, if you're losing sleep because of COVID, you're not alone. Thousands of other people are experiencing the same thing. It's a deep-seated anxiety centered around the virus, whether it's catching it, getting sick, or losing a loved one.
You have every right to be worried. Getting sick and losing a loved one is devastating.
We want you to look at it from this other angle, as well. Getting sick because of the virus is one aspect of what's going on. Another is making yourself sick with a host of other issues, including insomnia, because of the worry.
We want you to live your life to the fullest, take proper precautions to avoid getting sick, and avoid other issues that could harm you.
How To Get A Better Sleep While Quarantined
Routine Is Paramount
Are you one of the people who decided to stay up later and sleep in longer at the start of the lockdowns? Are you finding it hard to get back into your routine?
If you're finding yourself staying up later, you might be tricking your body into not producing enough melatonin to get a good night's sleep. Being up late, especially if you are using your cell phone or other electronics, can trick your body into thinking it's daylight a lot longer than it actually is.
Keeping your routine of going to bed a little bit earlier and waking up earlier can help offset some of that problem – and avoid blue light, which will go over a little bit later.
Short, focus naps can help bring clarity when you're tired. But, if you're finding yourself taking longer naps, you're setting yourself up for not sleeping at night. Daytime napping is one of the most common causes of insomnia. And although you might feel like you needed a daytime nap, it's probably working against you.
If you do take a nap, keep it to no more than 20 minutes. After that, your body will shift into a longer sleep cycle. Once you shift into that cycle, it becomes harder physically and mentally to wake back up.
Of course, part of the issue might be you have too much energy and not enough ways to burn it off. That was especially true when so many places were closed. Now that we can get out and we know being outside is one of the best ways to avoid catching the virus, exercise can help burn off your energy and make you tired enough to sleep well.
If you haven't exercised in a while, go for a walk. It's one of the best ways to get started and get you out outside.
Avoid Electronics/Blue Light
Blue light can reduce your brain's ability to produce melatonin. You need melatonin to sleep well. Your brain is thinking it's daytime and does not shift into the restful, nighttime cycle.
The best way to help your brain settle is to stop watching All electronics, particularly cell phones and tablets two hours before going to sleep.
Get Some Sun
The sun on your skin produces vitamin D, which helps stabilize your mood and hormones. When you stabilize your hormones, melatonin can work better. Even the people who have normal vitamin D levels, sunlight helps you feel happier and accentuates the cycle between day and night. Being out in the sunlight helps you sleep better at night.
Avoid The News
One of the chief sources of anxiety is the hyped-up news. Once these shows calmly and professionally told the tale of what was happening, it is now a cycle to see who can scare the public the most. As they chase after ratings, stories become more excited, dangerous, and frightening, all to keep you coming back to watch for more.
Breaking the cycle means avoiding the news. If you need to follow stories, we recommend reading them rather than watching live production. There's an air of detachment when you read a story that can give you clarity.
Yes, we know you feel tired after drinking alcohol, but it is a false tired. Alcohol is a depressant, and when you depress yourself, you're depressing the hormones that make you feel good. This includes melatonin. Even if you sleep, it will not be restful because your body isn't naturally getting what it needs to sleep properly.
That doesn't mean you have to give up alcohol altogether. Avoid drinking alcohol 4 hours before going to bed and keep it at a low level.
Avoid Eating 4 Hours Before Bed
The same thing is true with eating, you should avoid eating four hours before going to bed. When there's food on your stomach as your body is shutting down for the night, it becomes heavy and dense. Your digestive system has to work harder, which keeps you up more. It's also a critical factor in acid reflux.
Herbal Teas & Supplement
Yes, some certain herbal teas and supplements will help you sleep. Very few of them will force you to sleep, and most work just to relax you and produce calmness. If you tried other lifestyle stuff, using herbal teas and supplements could give you a helping hand with establishing good patterns.
We don't recommend using medication to help you sleep. Medication can put you to sleep. But, if you start relying on these medications, you will form an addiction. That makes it harder to get off the pills and even harder to try and sleep on your own. And when we combine that with the side effects, you can see that it might not be worth it.
So, to wrap it up, try these couple of steps to help yourself sleep in this time of anxiety:
- Keep a routine
- Avoid naps
- Avoid late-night blue light
- Get some sun
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid eating 4 hour before bed
- Try herbal teas