Wide awake at 2 am in pandemic? Sleeping mistakes to avoid, tips to sleep well
If you are unable to sleep at night, a number of factors including unstructured days and lack of routine are to be blamed. You must avoid these sleeping mistakes and follow some simple tips to sleep well.
Are you one of those who are tossing and turning at night, unable to get a relaxing sleep and waking up all groggy and cranky? While a lot of people used to struggle with sleep issues even before the pandemic, the ongoing health crisis has aggravated them. Experts feel that there are a number of factors including unstructured days and lack of routine that are to be blamed for our poor sleep. Making certain sleep mistakes could upset our sleep routine and lead to many mental health issues like anxiety, depression, insomnia etc.
Our pre-pandemic life has taken a backseat for an indefinite period with all the family members operating from home leaving no space for the mind to breathe. Many others have lost jobs and that has added to the woes. It is the accumulated stress of financial insecurity, loneliness, juggling with online schooling, working from home that may make one feel trapped and anxious.
"Sleep problems appear to have been common during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, sleep problems were found to be associated with higher levels of psychological distress," observed a Lancet study.
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Why we can’t sleep
Experts feel that our mornings have lost flavour due to coronavirus as many people who were used to socialising are now finding themselves lonely and distressed. "A lot of people earlier had yoga groups or walking groups. Now they can’t do the things they were doing earlier. This sense of loneliness or isolation, when you wake up early in the morning sets the tone for the day and make you highly stressed," says Dr. Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai.
The lack of a structured day coupled with 'revenge watching' at night and constantly staying at home can disturb our circadian rhythm.
"There is a lot of indiscipline in our life. Sleeping late in the night, checking our phones constantly, not going for morning walks, no schedule in the morning as we used to have earlier, lack of motivation in day time, all these factors add to our anxiety," adds Dr. Anand.
Stress and anxiety over a period of time could lead to many chronic diseases like cardiac problems, hypertension etc. It is important to take a pause and think of ways to get your life back on track and most importantly your sleep schedule.
Tips to combat stress and sleep well
Develop a sleep schedule: You must shut down all the gadgets at least an hour before you go to sleep. One can do some light reading and then go to sleep only when you feel drowsy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy training (CBT): CBT is a very effective way to deal with stress. The technique teaches you to distinguish between positive and negative thoughts and analyse stress logically rather than emotionally.
Brain exercises: Engaging in brain exercises two times a day is a good way to stay positive and healthy. There are many yoga asanas that can be good for brain health. Mindfulness exercises and techniques can also aid in rejuvenating the mind.
Build a support system: Pandemic may make you feel lonely but you need not be. Stay in touch with your friends, family and neighbours. Take out time for social interactions rather than being isolated.
Develop your creative side: Music, art, dance, gardening, writing etc can calm your mind and bring a positive outlook.