During this lockdown, how many times did you ask yourself what day it is? And how many times did you get it wrong? You’ve probably slept while the sun’s still out and woken up to darkness so many times (we know because we did that, too). This quarantine got us all messed up in more ways than one — and for most of us, our ruined sleep pattern takes the top spot. But regular (or at least, as regular as possible) life is about to return soon as some regions shift from the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to a general one, or a modified version of it. Which means you need to adjust your sleeping patterns to a normal human being’s. So here are some tips on how you can sleep better — even if we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
Keep a bedtime routine
This is probably the most important one you should follow, because consistency is key in correcting your sleep pattern. Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday, even on weekends. Make sure you’re relaxed by the time you get to bed, and don’t do anything too strenuous before trying to hit the sack.
Avoid taking naps
This goes hand in hand with the previous one. Because if you keep on napping during the day, you’d surely end up with too much energy at night, and the cycle would just repeat all over again. You must condition your body clock to sleep at set times at night, instead of sporadic shut-eyes that are simply bitin. But if you really need to take a nap, the best time is around 2 to 3 PM, right after a good lunch and way before dusk.
Take care of your diet
In case you didn’t know, what you eat also affects the way you sleep, especially the hours right before bedtime. Don’t eat food full of sugar and don’t make yourself too full during dinnertime. Big meals right before bed can cause wakefulness at night, so it’s better to eat just enough before bed. Of course, you also need to satisfy your hunger or else your hunger would end up waking you up. Just find the right balance. And don’t drink caffeine or alcohol near your bedtime. Caffeine would definitely keep you awake, and while most think alcohol would knock you out, it actually disrupts what could’ve been a restful sleep.
There are many simple exercises that can help improve your sleep. A simple 10-minute jog or any aerobic or cardio exercise would definitely improve the quality of your sleep. You might not see the result immediately, but daily exercise would help you reduce stress and tire you out. Just make sure you don’t do it right before bed, because aerobic exercise causes your body to release endorphins, which can keep you awake. It’s better to do it as part of your morning routine, or early in the afternoon.
If cardio isn’t for you, you can try yoga. The poses and stretches are so relaxing that you’d definitely reduce any stress and tension that’s not allowing you to sleep. And if you really don’t have time to do either cardio or yoga, simple breathing exercises right before bed would do. Follow the “4-7-8” method: inhale through your nose for four counts, hold it for seven counts, and exhale complete at the count of eight. Repeat this at least four times to help improve sleep.
Declutter your room
Your room is your sacred space. It’s supposed to be where you can relax and unwind after a long day full of work, studies, and regular life in general. But how can you rest if all you see is mess? So you better get up and clean up your room, especially the area around your bed! Remove all the clutter that could distract you at night, and make your room conducive for a restful sleep.
Set up the ideal lighting
Turn off all lights before going to bed. Light may disrupt your sleep and cause you to wake prematurely. Get some heavy and dark curtains that can keep out the sunlight. If you really can’t sleep without any light, invest in a night light. Get one in the dim red spectrum, which helps in the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Turn off all gadgets
You’ve probably heard this one so many times already, but if you’re still staring at your phone while on bed, then it just needs to be said again. Doing any activity on your gadgets would stimulate your brain and just bring you far away from sleep. Even the blue light from the gadget’s screen disrupts the production of melatonin. So it’s better to put your phone and other devices away when it’s time for bed.
Give yourself time to unwind
Take your mind off your worries from today and leave it all to tomorrow. Try to read a book (a physical copy! Not through a gadget!) or write down your thoughts to help you unwind. Avoid all kinds of screens whether it’s your phone, your computer, or the TV. You can also try doing simple meditation practices, or the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. Maybe even listen to some relaxing music. Do what you think fits you best (except going back to your gadgets). Just keep in mind that the goal is to clear your mind of today’s worries to reduce the stress and tension in your body.
Which of these have you tried? Do you have other tips? Share them with us below!