Life as we knew it changed this year. The coronavirus turned our everyday lives upside down, leaving many of us feeling overwhelmed and anxious as we adjusted to this ‘new normal’. In times like these, it’s more important than ever to take care of our mental health and wellbeing.
A good night’s sleep is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when we consider wellbeing. Unfortunately, during this pandemic, there’s a lot that can interfere with our sleep patterns. It is very important to remember that it’s “OK” to feel this way – everybody is facing challenges and obstacles. Here are some simple tips to help you combat anxiety and to sleep better.
1. Limit your viewing time of news and social media
At a time like this, it is easy to get lost in fake news or articles that are created and shared deliberately to generate views and interest. It is getting harder to distinguish the real from the fake. Fake news and constant scrolling on social media can become stressful and make you feel anxious, which can impact your sleep – especially when engaging in these activities before bed.
According to the BBC, there has been an increase in the use of social media during the last 30 minutes of going to bed, which resulted in a lower quality of sleep. One of the main causes of this sleep disruption is that our mobile screens emit a blue light, which decreases our melatonin level – the chemical which helps us sleep.
We recommend carefully selecting news from a trusted source and limiting the time you spend on your phone. Dr Walia, sleep disorder specialist recommends stopping screen time 1 hour before bed.
2. Acknowledge your worries
Everyone has worries – you are not alone! You may find yourself fidgeting in bed with countless thoughts and scenarios running through your head. This is the result of feeling uncertain and feeling like you have a lack of control. One solution is to face these worries by writing them down. This shows your mind that you are not ignoring them, but acknowledging them at a time that is suitable for you. This is an effective way to physically “empty” your mind as it has been transferred to a piece of paper. It allows you to become aware of your thoughts and over time will help you to not get lost in them, especially before you go to sleep.
3. Go outdoors
There are many benefits to lockdown restrictions finally easing, and one of them is being able to embrace the outdoors. According to research by Astell-Burt and Feng, daylight and greenspaces have proven to significantly improve your sleep quality as they reset your body clock to be more in tune with nature’s light and dark cycles.
Similarly, a study conducted by the National Institution of Health found a high correlation between spending time outdoors and an improvement in mental health. One solution is going for a regular outdoor walk, even if it is just for 30 minutes. Another study conducted by Dr Mary Carol Hunter, said, "Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature."
4. Consider sleep products
A few smart purchases may help if you are still tossing and turning in your bed. White noise machines have the soothing ability to relax your body and mind. According to Seth S. Horowitz, who is a respected neuroscientist, “White noise creates a masking effect, blocking out those sudden changes”, helping us quiet our mind.
Likewise, weighted blankets have taken the internet by storm, with many amazing online reviews. The positive effect on sleep quality has been identified by research conducted by the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders, which showed sleep time significantly increased, resulting in a better quality night’s sleep.
Lastly, picking the correct sleepwear can be the difference between a restless night and a peaceful slumber. Choose fabrics that best suit your body, for example, our We Drifters Anti-Insect Sleepwear which is made from bamboo. Bamboo is a natural moisture-wicker, the cellulose based fabric helps wick moisture from the skin to keep you more comfortable when sweating. It also has temperature management properties, so it keeps you at the optimum temperature while you sleep. Plus, the bamboo in our sleepwear has added anti-insect tech which keeps 90% of many biting insects at bay – helping reduce disturbances from bugs while you sleep!