We’ve previously shared some thoughts on getting a good nights sleep – and all of those tips are still true, but we find ourselves in unprecedented times. Your day to day life has almost certainly changed, so it’s understandable if your ability to sleep has changed too. We’ve put together some advice on getting a good night’s sleep even during lockdown!
Whether you’ve been furloughed, you’re working from home, or your school’s been closed, it can be tempting to go to bed & wake up whenever. But your body gets used to a routine. It learns when it’s time to start winding down for sleep, and when it needs to give you a boost of energy to get through the day. So avoid the urge to hit that snooze button!
Get up at a decent hour, even if you don’t necessarily have anything to do that day. And get to bed at the same time each night. It’s almost a case of tricking your body into thinking everything’s normal. If you used to always get up at 7am, get up at 7am now!
This is kinda related to routine. There’s a hormone that gets released in your brain to make you feel sleepy called melatonin. Your brain releases melatonin when it’s dark to let you know it’s time to rest. But for your brain and body to know it’s dark, they need to see some daylight, to be able to know the difference. So if you’re able to exercise outside once a day, get out and get some light. If you’re inside all day, at least try and keep the curtains and windows open so that your body can know when it’s getting dark, and when it’s time to start winding down.
We always go on about them, but there are lamps you can get that help simulate sunset (and sunrise!) which can help you fall asleep & wake up naturally. We love the Lumie lamps – but there are other options out there too! Have a Google and see what you find!
UH-OH! A point so important it’s on BOTH our posts about getting a good night’s sleep?! Look, you know that staying up til 3am playing Call of Duty or scrolling through TikTok probably isn’t the most helpful thing for getting to sleep. It’s because the blue light from the screen can trick your brain into thinking it’s not dark, and therefore not produce melatonin.
So the best thing is to try and avoid screens for an hour or so before bedtime (because you’re keeping to the same bedtime each night, cuz you read the first point of this post). But you can also help yourself out by switching on night time modes on your devices, which help reduce the blue light. You can even get a nifty pair of blue light glasses that’ll help block out the blue light even more.
If you’re working from home, that doesn’t need to mean working from bed. If you’re just hanging around your house, try and shake it up from just staying in your bedroom. Aaaaaand if you’ve got schoolwork to be doing, you probably shouldn’t be in bed all day anyway..! It’s not always gonna be possible, but if you make an effort to spend your time in other rooms of your house, and keep your bed just for sleeping, it’ll mean when you do go to bed, your brain & body will know what’s up, and start getting ready for sleep.
These can be a bit hit and miss. You might need to try a few different ones til you find one that really clicks with you. And these definitely aren’t for everybody. But sometimes just listening to a guided meditation, taking you through some simple breathing exercises, as you settle down for sleep can help to slow down your mind and send you off soundly. It can also help with calming some of the anxiety and worry that comes along with living through a global pandemic like this.
We talk a lot about how great exercise is for you. The endorphins you get! The positive impact on your brain, lungs, and heart! Exercise is great! But the truth is, by being in your house all day, you’re naturally going to be less active than usual. Think about how much you’d move around in a usual day at school or work. Even just moving around on a lunch break has an effect on how tired you feel at the end of the day, and therefore how ready your body is for sleep!
So do what you can to move around during the day! That could literally be sticking on a good podcast & just walking up and down your stairs/hallway til you’ve got 10,000 steps in for the day. Or maybe it’s keeping up with ole Joe Wicks. (crikey he wears me out, mind). Dance around your kitchen (other home dance venues are available) to our Feel Good Playlist! Even just making your daily walk count – make it a power walk or even a run. The more you wear yourself out during the day, the more tired you’ll be, and ready for sleep!
Another classic HATW suggestion! This one might particularly help if you’re finding yourself staring at the ceiling stressing out or feeling anxious. Thinking something, saying something, and writing something down all go through different parts of your brain. So if you’re feeling worried, physically write down what it is that’s worrying you. It’ll help your brain to process it in a different way to just laying there thinking about it. It also means you can rip up that bit of paper, or at least put it away in a drawer to physically represent the fact that you don’t need to deal with it right now. You can come back to it tomorrow if you really need to.
This can also work in a positive way too! Spend some time each night reflecting on things that you’re grateful for. Or things that have been good about today. Even if they’re as simple as “I ate a wicked sandwich” or “I read a great blog post from HATW today” (cuz yeah you did). Doing this regularly will mean you’re training your brain to look for good things in your life in general, which helps hugely in combating depression.
Sleep is such an important part of our lives. We need it to rest and recover. It improves our immune systems, our memory and reduces stress. It helps us fight things like depression! So try putting some of these tips into practise and see what an impact they can have. But remember, like everything, progress takes time. It’ll take a while for your body to learn a routine, for example, but you’ll get there, I promise.
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