Among the many things that have changed in the challenging year of 2020 are our sleeping rituals. Lockdown and working from home have caused some major changes in our daily routine and we've all picked up some poor habits like eating at our desks, spending the entire day in front of our screens, sitting down, eating more, eating late, and last but not least, stressing out day in and day out about the development of the pandemic.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that most of us have trouble sleeping these days, as all the bad habits listed above contribute to it. We live sedentary lives, we spend most of our time indoors, we're stressed, so we stress eat, and we spend hours on end on Netflix. "Just one more episode, and then another, and maybe just one more, since I don't have to wake up early tomorrow." That must sound familiar.
Spending hours on end in front of the TV and going to sleep late at night make for low quality sleep that leaves you feeling tired the morning after. When this happens for an extended amount of time, it gets harder and harder to sleep. So, what can we do? How can we improve our sleeping patterns during the times of COVID-19? Here are 5 hacks that will make a difference:
Hack No.1 - Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets will have you sleeping like a baby, literally. These blankets are specially made to evenly apply pressure to your body, which stimulates the natural production of serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone. This is called Deep Touch Pressure or DTP and it triggers your body's natural instincts to help you sleep. Using this type of blanket can actually help reduce anxiety and get you calm so you can go to sleep easily. Weighted blankets used to feel very hot, which did not make them very popular as central heating increased the normal temperature in our bedrooms. But rest assured that they have evolved over the past few years, and modern weighted blankets can apply the ideal amount of pressure without making you feel too warm under them.
Hack No. 2 - Ventilation
Yes, we spend our days inside, we work from home, we do pretty much anything inside these days. This means we're not getting enough fresh air. While this might sound like a cliché, the effects of poor oxygenation are serious enough to get your attention. Insomnia is actually deeply connected to this. Luckily, this is something you can correct, even during the times of COVID-19. You can wear your mask and take all the necessary precautions to take a walk outside every other day (at least). Even with your mask on, being outside is useful. Then, when you're back home, open the windows to let the fresh air in! Drink your coffee on the balcony or by the window. As a small incentive, you can even try some small gardening projects. Starting your own herb garden is an excellent reason to spend a bit of time on the balcony every single day.
Hack No. 3 - Schedule In Some Sleeping
Living with insomnia is anything but pleasant. Even mild insomnia can be very stressful, so it's time to prioritize your sleeping. Like any important event you have during the day, schedule your sleeping. Choose a comfortable time to go to sleep and put it in your calendar and try to stick to it. No matter how many temptations Netflix might have, make sleep your priority! Keeping a regular sleeping schedule helps tremendously because your body gets used to the moments when it has to release melatonin, the sleeping hormone.
Hack No. 4 - Your Bedroom Should Be for Sleeping
One of the most annoying things about working from home is that you get to associate home with work, which makes you even more stressed out. It's important to keep things as separate as possible. Delimit your workspace from your relaxation space, and, most importantly, from your sleeping space. As tempting as it might be to take your laptop in bed and work from under the cover, you have to resist to stay healthy. Your bedroom is the room where you go to sleep, that's it. Keep it as clear as possible, avoid clutter, and make it your relaxation space. This way, when you go there, you will instantly feel relaxed instead of being reminded of work.
Hack No. 5 - Tea and a Good Book Make for a Good Night's Rest
To end on a high note, this hack is actually a combo. Some herbal teas can improve your sleep, they can get you relaxed right before you go to bed, which is very important for a good night's rest. Reading is the best activity you can take up before you go to sleep because it helps your brain shut down gently. Instead of watching TV or your phone before bed, read a book because it doesn't expose your eyes to light ( light triggers your brain to be active, not to slowly shut down). When you do these two together, there is almost a synergic effect, which can do wonders for the quality of your sleep. So add tea and reading to your schedule and you'll be sleeping better in no time.
Start improving your sleep today with these 5 hacks. Overcome the effects of working from home and living at home full time by sleeping better. This way, you can pick up some good habits during lockdown instead! Sleep tight!