Before the coronavirus outbreak, insufficient sleep was already a global epidemic. But experts say the anxiety and fear over the current crisis might make matters worse.
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, sleep is as important to our well-being as a healthy diet and exercise. Inadequate sleep can also induce and/or make feelings of anxiety and stress seem worse.
The Sleep Health Foundation points out a good night's sleep helps fight off infection.
"When sleep is of poor quality it can impair our immune response. In addition, poor sleep might result in 'flare-ups' of other chronic illnesses," their experts point out.
Nancy Rothstein, MBA, known as the Sleep Ambassador, wrote for The Chopra Center, "we must make sleep a priority during these difficult times.
"Sleep is a gateway to support our immune system, especially during this global COVID-19 pandemic," she wrote. "Seven to nine hours of good, quality sleep is the recommended amount for adults."
Here are some tips:
- Set a consistent sleep and wake time 7 days a week. "Your circadian rhythm will appreciate a set schedule so it can support your immune system, which is important as the world is exposed to COVID-19," Rothstein wrote.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine that begins an hour before going to sleep. Some suggestions include turning off all devices and technology, taking a shower or bath, or reading a physical book with a dim light.
- Limit media exposure. Be sensible about what you learn about COVID-19. Do not pay too much attention to gossip. "Create boundaries around how much news you are exposed to," Rothstein wrote.
- Take care of your body. Even if you are homebound, try to maintain as normal a routine as possible. Get some exercise, eat sensibly, do not drink too much alcohol, and avoid caffeine too close to bedtime. Try to do something fun every day, says the Sleep Health Foundation.
- Keep your bed predominantly for sleep. Try not to watch television in bed or use your bedroom for work. If you cannot sleep, get up and do something relaxing in a dim light that is quiet and away from the bedroom. Go back to bed when you are ready to fall asleep.
- Connect with others. If you have specific concerns, try to deal with them before going to bed. Simply talking to someone you trust about your worries can help. Social distancing does not equate to social isolation.
- Meditate or pray. These practices can have a profound effect on the quality of your sleep.
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