There’s just no way around it. In times of stress and inactivity, you have to exercise if you want to sleep well. The good news is, even a few stretches and breathing exercises help.(iStock)
There’s just no way around it. In times of stress and inactivity, you have to exercise if you want to sleep well. The good news is, even a few stretches and breathing exercises help.(iStock)

Facing sleep issues during lockdown? Try these easy tips to sleep better

In the absence of a regular routine, late dinners, snacking and greater calorie intakes are also affecting sleep cycles, doctors say. So here are three easy ways you can help your body revert to its normal sleep cycle.
Hindustan Times | By Natasha Rego
UPDATED ON APR 15, 2020 08:46 AM IST

Amid the stress of housework, working from home and not knowing when the numbers will start to dip, two things are taking a beating: diet and sleep.

“One reason sleep has been affected badly is that physical activity is down by over 50%,” says Dr Parul Tank, consultant psychiatrist and therapist at Fortis, Mumbai. No commuting, no walking, no stairs.

In the absence of a regular routine, late dinners, snacking and greater calorie intakes are also affecting sleep cycles, doctors say. So here are three easy ways you can help your body revert to its normal sleep cycle.

Change your workout routine: If you don’t have one, what are you waiting for? Get started today. If you’re the kind of person that did yoga / meditation in the morning, move it to the evening, when your body is looking for signals that it’s time to relax.

“I used to do my yoga at 5 am, but now I’ve moved it to a few hours before bedtime. I do it for the mental and physical workout. It helps relax my limbs and sleep quality is definitely much better,” says Tia Raina, 32, a marketing executive.

Be careful to avoid high-intensity exercises just before bed, though, says fitness consultant Diksha Chhabra.

“Instead, try a stretching routine to loosen up the muscles. The child pose, bear hug and kneeling lat stretches (SEE: Your Daily Workout, below) are worth trying,” Chhabra says.

Have a quick hot bath before bed: It eases mind and body, signals to both that activity for the day is at an end. “It relaxes the muscles and prepares your body for a good night’s sleep,” says Dr Tank.

Stop scrolling: We know it’s hard to keep your eyes off the newsfeeds, but constantly tracking numbers and updates will become overwhelming.

“At least switch off a few hours before you turn in,” says Dr Tank. Spend the last few waking hours of your day unwinding, talking (about anything other than the virus) or doing mundane tasks like folding clothes. Ovee Thorat, 32, a PhD student, has been setting her phone aside a few hours before bedtime. “Not bringing the device to bed works best for me. I spend that time doing something with my hands, either sketching or writing. If I don’t do that either, my mind wanders too much,” she says.

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