Having Trouble Sleeping During the Pandemic? Here is Why and What You Can Do
You are not alone if you are suffering from insomnia during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the promising news on the horizon with more and more people getting vaccinated and cases beginning to drop, many people are still having issues getting to sleep and staying that way. Here a few reasons why you may be having challenges sleeping soundly and what you can do about it.
There is no doubt that life has been a roller coaster over the last year. If your household is like countless others, your daily schedule has been massively disrupted as a result of the health crisis. Parents everywhere are being forced to homeschool their kids, give up their personal time, deal with work loss, and much more.
This disruption to what was once a predictable routine will understandably also disrupt your sleeping patterns. Many busy parents now have to stay up late at night or wake up earlier than usual to get things done because they are spending so much of their day helping their kids with school. All of these basic lifestyle changes can greatly impact your normal sleep schedule.
For some individuals, the pandemic has been a source of chronic stress. As the nation hits the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the crisis, it is not unusual to still be feeling this stress. This is particularly true if you have lost a loved one to the virus.
The loss of employment or housing and the financial hardship that causes is also a significant source of stress. Medical experts have long known that stress is a trigger for insomnia. A sleepless night due to stress can lead to a challenging next day, further exacerbating the cycle of stress and insomnia.
How to Know if the Exhaustion is Affecting Your Health
Chances are, the people in your circle are also talking about feeling tired and sluggish. But how can you distinguish normal tiredness from extreme exhaustion? Genuine exhaustion will change how you act. You may even appear to be impaired to those around you. This is because lack of sleep affects the body in the same general way that excess alcohol does.
Not only will your mood change, but you also may find it difficult to concentrate. This lack of concentration may apply to mundane tasks that never presented a challenge to you in the past.
Sleep Solutions to Combat the Insomnia
The good news is that you are not powerless in your fight to get quality sleep each night. Here are just a few steps that you can take to combat the insomnia.
- Turn Off the News - While it is admirable to want to stay informed during this crisis, news overload can be a hindrance to your ability to fall asleep. Try to limit your consumption of news about the health crisis, particularly avoiding it prior to bedtime.
- Avoid Blue Light - The constant brightness of the blue light coming from your smartphone or tablet sends the signal to your brain that it is not time to shut off and go to bed. You will have better luck falling asleep if you turn off any electronic devices at least two hours before you plan to go to sleep.
- Use a Weighted Blanket - Research shows that using a weighted blanket may benefit people suffering from insomnia. The pressure provided by the extra weight can relieve anxiety and improve your mood.
- Watch What You Eat and Drink - Conventional wisdom says to cut out caffeine in the hours before bedtime. Alcohol may also disrupt healthy sleeping patterns. You can also try eating foods that are rich in magnesium in an effort to promote sleep. Foods to include in your diet are leafy greens, seeds, avocados, dark chocolate, and nuts.
While the world is still working to get this virus under control, it is important to remember that there is hope in sight. Reminding yourself that things are finally starting to turn around may be just the mental boost that you need to help you to fight off the insomnia.
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