Covid-19 Series. How to sleep well- Written by WWTW Clinical Lead, Carolyn Brown.
Sleep is crucial to all of us in order to be well both physically and mentally. If we can’t sleep for more than a few nights and this runs into weeks, it can become harder for us to cope emotionally as well as having a negative effect on our physical wellbeing.
At the moment, it could be that more and more time is being spent in the bedroom, working or getting out of each other’s way during isolation or quarantine.
If falling asleep is difficult for you, irregular sleeping hours are unhelpful – it’s important to have a strict bedtime routine. Finding a routine that works for you and sticking to it is crucial.
If you experience low mood, anxiety or PTSD you may have difficulties with sleeping. It’s possible you worry a lot, or are having intrusive dreams. This is something that can be addressed whilst in therapy or in the short-term with prescribed medication.
Sleeping at regular times
This programmes our brains and body clock to get used to a set routine. The majority of adults require between 6 and 9 hours sleep a night – but this can vary.
Try to wake up at the same time every day. It’s tempting to stay in bed longer if you’ve had a bad night – but try not to.
Don’t drink coffee/tea or energy drinks before bedtime
Winding down before bedtime
This stage is a must when preparing for bed. Various ways to relax are:
- Meditation/relaxation exercises
- Yoga (gentle)
- A warm bath with possibly some essential oils such as Lavender
- If you tend to mull things over in your head at night, try and write down what you need to do the next day so that you can clear your mind
- Gentle hypnotic music
- There are various sleep Apps available BUT BEWARE- avoid using electronic devices for an hour or more before bed. The light from smartphones can disrupt the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle.
The bedroom should be as relaxing an environment as possible. Not too hot and not too cold. Ideally thick curtains. Use earplugs if you’re likely to be disturbed by traffic etc.
Keep a diary
If you keep a sleep diary, you may be able to pinpoint any lifestyle habits or activities that may be contributing to your poor sleep.
Click here if you’d like more information about our mental health programme.