We already know that the COVID-19 crisis has modified our daily routines, and sleep is no exception. In some cases, the current situation is throwing our usual daily habits off track. People in general are having problems sleeping, waking up in the early hours and altering their daily lives.
BUT WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
There are several physiological mechanisms that coordinate the sleep cycle and insomnia, and which indicate the time to go to sleep, as well as the quality of our sleep. The sympathetic nervous system regulates the functions related to our alert state, also known as the “stress hormones”. These prepare us to react quickly to situations that are dangerous, threatening or risky, such as losing a loved one, suddenly losing our income, or being afraid of catching the virus, among many other situations.
WHAT WE CAN DO TO SLEEP BETTER
Continue with your routines and regular lifestyle, maintaining stable sleep and meal schedules. Following a routine before going to sleep, like having dinner and going to bed at the same time, is very important. Repeating the same steps helps the body to interpret that it is time to go to sleep.
- Sunbathe: Sunlight, as well as giving you vitamin D, helps to synchronize your biological clock and will favor nighttime rest.
- Do exercise: Physical activity is very important, not only because it makes us tired, but also because it contributes to general wellbeing. Exercise is healthy and helps us to feel better.
- Eat a light dinner: Try not to eat sugar or food that gives you energy before going to sleep.
- Meditate: To feel less stressed, you can meditate, listen to relaxing music, use essential oils or read a book before going to sleep.
- Turn off all screens: Create a restful environment in your bedroom with a suitable temperature, little noise and away from lights.
Although it seems difficult, we need to take control of our sleep habits at this time of social distancing. We need to learn how to take care of our body and its needs, to find a healthy balance, both physically and emotionally.