8 effective ways to improve your quality of sleep
Since the lockdown started, a large number of people have reported sleep difficulties. Even those who previously had no sleep problems, seem to be struggling with sleep disturbances.
Google search on insomnia has increased during this time, indicating just how much people are struggling to fall asleep.
Rakhi Beekrum, a counselling psychologist, says there are a few reasons for this: Our daily routines,sleep and waking times have changed. Extended time indoors means less exposure to natural night. Our eating patterns have changed and we may be exercising less. Lastly, more screen time and increased worry, stress and anxiety.
Beekrum explains that our routines, eating patterns and exposure to light all impact on our circadian rhythms, which regulate sleep. Sleep deprivation impacts negatively on our mental and physical health, immune system, concentration, weight, alertness, productivity and efficiency. In order to improve your quality of sleep:
- Wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day
- Get natural light during the day
- Exercise (but not too close to bedtime)
- Eat at regular times
- If you must have caffeine, do so earlier in the day
- Set aside time to think about your stressors – pray, journal, meditate, talk to a friend or do something that helps you solve your problems or plan to work through them. If you do this, then you won’t be lying in bed at night worrying about it.
- Reduce your screen time. The golden rule is no screens (TV, phone, computers, etc.) at least one hour before bedtime.
- Use you bed for sleeping (not working, watching TV or studying) so your brain associates your bed with rest and relaxation.
Sleep is one of the most important pillars of health and optimal sleep will have a positive impact on other areas of your life.