The current COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a substantial rise in stress levels amongst individuals, families, and societies. Despite following the orders to stay at home and exercising precautionary measures, people find themselves lacking the proper work and rest schedule. This lack of a daily routine paired with higher levels of stress leads to the onset of sleep problems amongst the masses.
Sleep affects mental well-being, physical health, and immunity of a person. Sleep deficiency has been the source of numerous health issues. In times affected by the current pandemic, sleep cycles have been considerably disrupted. If you are facing sleep disorders, here are 8 effective tips for healthy sleep and stress-free life:
1. Try to Maintain Regular Sleep Routine
Staying at home has made people prone to sleeping for prolonged hours during the day or staying awake late at night. Both of these habits have led to the disruption of the normal sleep cycle. If you have messed up your sleep cycle too, it is highly recommended to get it back on track. Get up and sleep at a fixed time so that your body and brain get enough time to relax.
2. Go Outside For At Least 30 Minutes
Regular exposure to sunlight helps our body to maintain a regular 24-hour rhythm, which is very crucial for quality sleep. Therefore, your body must be exposed to sunlight at least for 15-30 minutes in a day.
Considering the present COVID-19 scenario, it would be nice to step outside of your home in the morning with a mask on, take required precautions like maintain physical distance and take a 30 minutes’ walk. Also, sunlight is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D in the body.
3. Limit Your Screen Time
Living at and working from home has certainly increased the time we look at our phones, TVs, and computers. While you might be unable to avoid the official zoom meetings and your office work on your computers, you can most certainly restrict the time you spend binge-watching or playing games on phones and other gadgets. Sleep experts around the globe suggest that individuals having trouble in sleeping must stop viewing any kind of screen at least one hour before going to bed. In case it is important for you to work or be in front of the screen, you can try using the night mode, light filters features of device or can use light filter glasses to filter some of the light that negatively impacts sleep.
4. Strive to Remain Calm
It has been observed that staying too much at home has increased the anxiety level in individuals. People having trouble sleeping feel very impatient and are unable to calm down. Here are a few things that you may do to feel relaxed and catch a sound sleep:
- Practice yoga and breathing exercises.
- Read a good and positive book.
- Take a warm and cold water shower before going to bed.
- Talk with your loved ones before sleeping.
- An hour before bed time grab a cup of warm turmeric milk
5. Follow Healthy Sleeping Habits
Good sound sleep is as crucial as food and water, and therefore, being unable to sleep properly is always a cause of concern. To get a good night’s sleep, you must follow and practise some healthy habits such as:
Avoiding caffeine intake in the afternoon: This is because caffeine blocks the receptors that bind with the sleep-inducing protein, making you stay wide awake, even when you wish to sleep.
Avoid consuming alcohol in the evening: This may sound a little weird at once because we have often heard people taking drinks to feel relaxed and calm. However, the truth is that alcohol causes insomnia and sleeping disorders by disrupting the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep pattern.
Avoid eating two hours before your sleep time: Just like sleeping, eating should have a routine too. Therefore, it is advised that you practice taking meals at least 2 to 3 hours before your bedtime. This allows proper digestion and the contents of your stomach to move into your small intestine.
6. Keep a tab on Your Naps
Taking a short 15-20 minutes nap is considered enough for adults to feel refreshed. However, if you are facing sleep problems, it is best advised not to take long naps in the daytime as they may interfere with your night’s sleep. Also, if you are on sleep medication, avoid their frequent and long-term use.
7. Increase Your Melatonin Consumption
Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone produced in the body as it starts to get dark. However, the current lifestyle has interrupted its production cycle. People who are facing sleep-related issues can practice ways to increase the production of melatonin in the body.
They may consume melatonin-rich foods like tart cherry, nuts, banana, oats, ginger, etc. at least 2 hours before bed or take melatonin supplements in the form of pills. It must be remembered that you cannot take the pills without consulting a doctor.
8. Consume Sleep Inducing Supplements
Many supplements induce relaxation and help you to sleep, but consulting a doctor is advisable. Few of them are as follows:
Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with several benefits, it may help you to sleep, relax, and relieve stress.
Valerian root: Numerous studies say that valerian will help you sleep better and improve your sleep issues overtime.
Glycine: Some research suggests that taking 3 grams of amino acid glycine can significantly improve the quality of your sleep.
L-theanine: L-theanine is an amino acid that can enhance relaxation as well as sleep.
Magnesium: Responsible for more than 600 reactions inside your body, magnesium can enhance relaxation and enhance the quality of sleep.
Lavender: It is considered as a powerful herb with numerous health benefits. Lavender can induce a calming effect to improve the quality of your sleep.
You may not need to use all 8 eight techniques to solve the riddle of sleep, but the more you do, the more likely you are to get the sleep you require. COVID-19’s challenges aren’t going to last forever, but sleep is a prerequisite for optimum health and brain functioning.
HealthifyMe is one platform that can help you fight this tough time. You can keep track of everything you eat and drink and prevent yourself from getting negatively impacted by COVID-19. HealthifyMe experts can guide you through living a stress-free life and develop the sleep routine you find so hard to follow. HealthifyMe is a platform where you will receive assistance from the best nutritionists fitness, yoga experts and doctors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Heavy meals or exercise around bedtime will reduce the amount of deep sleep you’re receiving. If the sleep is disturbed by an increased heart rate or metabolism, you may consider reducing exercise and heavy meals 3 hours before going to bed.Also avoid screen time an hour before bed time.
To ease the cough, you may drink warm water, stop using air conditioners (as they dry the throat, leading to more cough), use cough drops or syrups or chew and suck juice of baheda. All these practices will help you ease the cough and sleep better.
COVID-19 has impacted the sleep cycle of every age group and mentioned below are things that you may do to bring the sleep cycle back in order: –
– Set consistent bedtime and wake-up times for all family members as per their age.
– Consider including everyone in creating a routine. Set daily meals and workout/ playtimes.
– To help maintain the natural 24-hour rhythm, aim for bright days including time outdoors and dim nights.
– Do not consume too much caffeine.
– Limit the screen time for both kids as well as adults.
– Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
– If possible, go out for a quick walk.
– Spend time talking and playing with your family.
Sleep has a wide array of benefits for both physical and mental well-being, such as:
– Sleep develops a strong immune system.
– Sleep improves brain function. Upon a good rest, our brain functions efficiently making it easier to learn, decide, memorize, and reason.
– Lack of sleep makes a person irritated and exhausted, drags our energy levels down, and makes us feel depressed or worse. Hence, sleeping properly for sufficient time boosts our mood.
Eating the right kind of food is crucial for every human’s well-being. Therefore, it is advised to ensure a healthy diet during the COVID-19 pandemic. As it will not only help to boost the immune system but can also help to improve the sleep cycle as well. Eating food at the right time will help you get a sound sleep without any disruptions. Also, it would be nice if you do not take any liquids before going to bed so that sleep doesn’t get disturbed due to frequent urge for using the washroom.