With a global pandemic threatening to engulf the entire world, it's fair to say that stress levels are on the rise. Anxiety tends to breed secondary health issues, including skin diseases, and stomach and intestinal problems, which only worsen the quality and duration of our sleep. In the worst scenarios, this eventually rears its ugly head in the form of insomnia. The less we sleep, the worse our health and, likewise, the worse our health, the less we sleep – and so the bitter and vicious cycle goes on.
In fact, according to research conducted by Turkish bedding and furniture company Yataş, stress and anxiety are the top causes of people losing sleep. Those who are married with children and working seem to be the worst affected by sleeping-related problems. These people almost never get a full eight hours of sleep due to work stress, anxiety about the future and life, and having young children who wake up frequently. Those aged 25-35 who live alone, newlyweds, and employees in their 20s and 30s also tend to fall asleep late at night, leaving them groggy and tired when they have to get up early in the morning.
In these trying times, it is essential to keep calm but to remain alert and try to get a good night’s sleep for your own health and the health of your loved ones.
Stick to a schedule
Human beings are creatures of habit and our biological clocks support this. To get the best sleep possible, we must try to go to sleep at more or less the same hour and get up at fixed times every day. This might be problematic for people working on rotating shifts, but try to get at least seven hours of sleep.
Sweet bed o' mine
Familiar surroundings are key to a good night’s sleep. Your body knows which room is good for what. Ever just entered the kitchen suddenly to find you have the urge to eat something? A similar effect should occur when entering the bedroom. Having a designated sleeping place – ideally, a room – is essential. You should only sleep in your bed and not on the couch – if you fall asleep on the couch, at least don't stay the night.
Speaking of beds, only use them for sleeping. Do not spend hours on your phone to check social media and do not watch TV while in bed. Essentially, ban all electronic devices from the room, whether it be your smartphone, your work laptop or tablet. If you need your phone to serve as an alarm clock, make sure it is completely silent of notifications. Vibrations, sounds and flickering lights – no matter how small or silent they might be – disrupt our sleep patterns, and even if you do not wake up in the night because of them, they might make you feel groggy in the morning.
If you establish all of these habits and still find yourself tossing and turning in your bed for hours, just get out and try to relax outside the bed. Meditate or do something that calms you down. Reading a book is also a great option.
What light through yonder window breaks?
No light at all should enter the bedroom while you are sleeping – at least not until it is morning. But considering that we live in a world where light pollution is a reality, you may want to opt for dark, heavy curtains. If these are not available, you can always try wearing a soft eye mask.
Exercising on a regular basis to tire yourself and avoiding heavy, greasy foods and caffeine-rich drinks close to bedtime will also ensure you have better sleep. If you suffer from acid reflux, propping up your pillow higher than usual might also help.
Having a warm shower before bed and herbal teas such as chamomile can also help you drift off quicker.
A few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow will also help you calm down and relax.
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