Working from home could have a knock-on effect on our sleep, but these four top tips will help you get a restful night.
Being active throughout the week is important for regular, good quality sleep. In fact, according to SleepFoundation.org, people who get 150 minutes of exercise a week sleep around 65 per cent better than those who don’t. As a result, when we’re less active than usual, our sleep can take a big hit.
But keeping ourselves moving is becoming more and more difficult under the current circumstances. The rapid spread of coronavirus means many of us will be asked to self-isolate and work from home. And, it is looking increasingly likely that the UK will follow in the footsteps of countries like France, Germany and China in shutting shops, bars and gyms. So whether you’re a gym bunny or just miss getting to run down to your local high street to keep yourself moving, the recent restrictions will likely be taking their toll.
If your usual routine has changed and you’re likely to be spending more time than ever at home, it could have an adverse impact on the quality of your sleep. But never fear! We’ve pulled together our best tips for fighting sleeplessness in the time of coronavirus.
Try exercising at home
Your normal activity levels will almost definitely be taking a hit under possible restrictions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise at all. In fact, this could be an opportunity for you to try something completely new at home.
Yoga is a particularly good form of exercise to try, because it eases anxiety and stress. It’s also really relaxing and enjoyable, which means it can help you to wind down before bed. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that will walk you through the poses, so you can try out a few simple routines or have a go at a full class from the comfort of your own home.
Bodyweight training is another good one, particularly if you’re used to hitting the gym on a regular basis. While bodyweight training won’t have the same impact on muscle growth as strength training at the gym, it can do great things for your flexibility and core strength.
And, whether you’re doing an intense workout or simply sitting down to work all day, it’s important to stretch. This will keep you active while also preventing your muscles from tightening up, so you’ll be comfortable when your head hits the pillow.
Keep to your sleep routine
It may be tempting to do away with your routine while you’re working from home. Maybe you fancy grabbing a lie-in in lieu of your morning commute, of maybe you don’t see the need to go to bed as early.
But actually, this is counterproductive if you want to keep getting consistent, high-quality sleep. Messing with your sleep schedule can throw off your circadian rhythm, also known as your sleep-wake cycle. Disruption can cause the circadian rhythm to overcompensate, which can lead to you to being sleepy during the day, and alert when you go to bed. So try and keep to roughly the same sleeping and waking hours you did before coronavirus came along. It may not feel like it first thing in the morning, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run.
This is a concerning time for all of us. The coronavirus was recently labelled a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and the measures that have been put in place – however disruptive – are there to prevent the death toll from rising any higher.
Everyday life is, however, still going on. Unfortunately though, if you’re self-isolating or working from home, it’s difficult to ignore the reality of the situation – even when you’re trying to relax. But while worry can be a very natural bedfellow, it is also an extremely unhelpful one.
So it’s a good idea to be proactive about your anxieties. Try and set aside a time before bedtime (but preferably not too late in the evening) where you deal with the things that are worrying you. This can involve writing down all your worries so that they’re out of your system for the night. Or, it could involve you making plans for the next day or week, so that everything is sorted in your mind before you go to bed.
Cut out caffeine
Coffee is synonymous with productivity for many people. However, caffeine interferes with our ability to fall asleep and can prevent us from sleeping well. Particularly at a time when our sleep is likely to be disrupted anyway, caffeine can often do more harm than good. So try and cut it out, or at least cut down. Perhaps you could have a cup of tea instead of a cup of coffee, or skip your end of the day caffeine fix.
Remember that caffeine is a powerful stimulant that stays in your system anywhere between 4 and 6 hours. If you want to get a good night’s sleep, using up your natural energy is the way to go.
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