Last year, in the early days of the Covid pandemic, we wrote about how lockdowns and restrictions were affecting the way people sleep. A Dreem study found most people had generally slept later and for longer, but their sleep quality was poor.1 Many others struggled with stress, leading to restless nights and even extra vivid dreams.
At this time, with over half of all us Aussies now in lockdown, it’s natural to feel stressed and worried. It’s also normal to experience changes in your sleep patterns – so as long as we don’t let them get out of control. Feeling stressed can lead to poor sleep, and poor sleep can lead to even more stress and then worse sleep. With lockdown causing so much disruption, we owe it to ourselves to protect this one crucial aspect of our lives.
Here are some ideas we’ve gathered together to help you sleep well through this testing time so that you can feel as positive as you can while grappling with everything that’s happening.
Following the latest Covid headlines before bed is not a good idea. Lockdowns don’t often get lifted overnight, so catch up on the news in the morning instead. If it’s negative news, you’ll have time to process it during the day instead of thinking through it in bed at night. What’s worse is if you’re bringing your phone to bed too – not because of the blue light, but because you might be tempted to stay up reading and worrying for longer.
Working from home might conjure images of people in pyjamas or worse – in their birthday suits! But despite how comfortable working in bed looks, it’s not conducive to productivity nor your rest. One of the key rules for working from home is to maintain distance between work and home. That means it’s essential to keep your bedroom a work-free and stress-free zone. If you don’t, you may find yourself unable to switch off, even when the day is over.
It’s hard to feel motivated and productive when you’re stressed, but if you try and keep your body and mind active, you may find yourself not thinking so much about your worries. Why not try picking up a new hobby or book this weekend? What about creating a new routine for yourself too? A new routine, with new activities, can provide that sense of normality we’re after – and perhaps a better sleep schedule too.
With lockdown closing gyms and keeping us at home, many of us will not feel as physically exhausted as we once were at the end of the day. While it is indeed more difficult to keep active, there are still plenty of ways to do it. Running, cycling or dancing are all things you can do inside and outside the home. Need inspiration? Look no further than your phone or computer for an app or guided video workout. Thanks to social media, the internet is awash with them – all available on-demand.
First, think about how you want to improve your sleep health. Are you not getting your recommended 7–9 hours of sleep each night? Are you sleeping in too late? Once you understand your bad habits, you can think of a challenge to solve them. For example, you could focus on maintaining a regular bedtime for a week, or what about taking our 14-day sleep challenge? You can even challenge your friends and family to do it with you, keeping you all connected and well-rested!
Now more than ever, we need to protect our sleep and not let lockdown impact it. While we can’t control the events that cause us stress, we can control how well we sleep to mitigate how we feel about them. If you’re noticing your sleep pattern deteriorating recently, please take a moment to go back through this list and see if these ideas can help. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
ResMed is a global leader in sleep technology that has its origins right here in Australia. Our goal is to provide people with the means to awaken their best and enjoy healthier lives by promoting good sleep habits and creating awareness for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
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