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Optimise Your Sleeping Routine During Quarantine

Ellie Swain

Contributor

For many of us, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on our sleeping routine. The uncertainty of the situation and the frightening news headlines can disrupt the amount of sleep we’re getting, plus with many of us working remotely, the lines between personal and professional life have become blurry. Sleeping well is crucial for both our physical and mental health, especially during these strange and trying times. If you’re struggling to snooze, here’s how to optimize your sleeping routine during quarantine or self-isolation.

Stick to a Routine

We all know it’s important to stick to a routine for improved sleep, but it’s easier said than done, especially given the circumstances. But by setting a timeframe for certain tasks throughout the day you can ‘train’ your body and mind to relax as it learns a conditioned response to eventually fall into a deep sleep. This, in turn, helps you ease any signs of anxiety which can affect the way you sleep.

When preparing for bed, your nighttime routine should start at least 30 minutes before heading to bed, although an hour is even better.

This preparation routine may involve switching off the radio, television, and any other electronics. Then, indulge in something you enjoy to help you nod off such as reading or taking a calming shower or bath before turning off the lights.

Whatever you do, practise the same routine each night around the same time and your body’s circadian rhythms will love you for it.

Divide Your Space

When working at home, it’s tempting to grab the laptop and work from the warmth of your bed. However, it’s important to have an efficient and productive work set up to help you stick to your routine.

Don’t lounge around in your pyjamas all day – get up, showered, and dressed. If you do decide to tap away in bed and attempt to put your professional brain on, your body can become confused about the boundaries between work and downtime. In turn, this can make it more difficult to know when to sleep.

Likewise, when you do take some much-needed downtime such as watching a movie, avoid bringing your laptop along for the ride.

Make the bedroom a calm, inviting, and tranquil space that you’ll feel comfortable sleeping in. It’s a good idea to make the room feel as appealing as possible, so change your sheets regularly, fluff your pillows, and make your bed daily to create the ideal setting to doze off in.

Exercise Outdoors

Staying home is, of course, the best way to stop the spread of coronavirus. But it’s also important to recognize the importance of getting some fresh air outdoors daily for your mental health.

A lack of natural daylight can affect the way we sleep and throw our body clock’s out of sync.

If you can go outside and breathe in some fresh air and soak up some sun, make the most of the opportunity and go for a walk or run. Be sure to check your government’s guidelines for your country though.

When you’re at home, keep the curtains wide during the day to welcome in plenty of light. If you’re not prohibited to exercise outdoors, then try opening one of your windows and poking your head out for a couple of minutes at a time. It may feel silly at first, but you’ll be surprised by how well it can break up the day and improve your mood.

Likewise, if you can’t venture outdoors you must find a way of exercising at home. Thankfully, there are plenty of workout videos available to stream online if you’re not sure where to start.

And if you’re feeling too emotionally drained to consider working out, then make the effort to be physically active and clean, for example. Not only is keeping moving beneficial for your physical health but tiring your body out will help you achieve better sleep.

Watch What You Eat and Drink

When cooped up in the house all day, it’s easy to reach for the chocolate bars and to pour endless cups of coffee – sometimes purely out of boredom. However, maintaining a healthy diet is important to promote good sleeping habits.

Be wary of how much sugar, alcohol, and coffee you consume, especially closer to bedtime. All three can disrupt both the quantity and quality of that much-needed shuteye time.

Take the Time to Relax

You can make the effort to do everything as mentioned above, but if your mind is still whirring and you’re feeling anxious when heading to bed, it’s going to be difficult to snooze for eight hours.

While life may seem scary and uncertain right now, don’t feel guilty for taking the time to relax in day to day life. Deep breathing, stretching, yoga, mindful meditation, and quiet reading are just a few ways to ease any anxiety and to induce a relaxed state of mind.

Even something small, such as sipping on a calming cup of chamomile tea or dropping the fragrant scents of lavender or vanilla onto your pillow at nice can make a big difference in your mood.

If you find yourself becoming increasingly worried about the pandemic, it may be wise to limit the amount of coronavirus-related news you consume.

Of course, it’s important to stay up to date with what’s going on, but don’t let it overwhelm your day. For example, you could reduce the amount of scrolling you do on social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram where the topic is hot on everyone’s feeds. You could also limit the amount of time you spend talking about the pandemic when speaking to family and friends on calls.

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