Sleep has been eluding me for a couple of months now. But it shouldn’t be so--given how exhausting each one of my days has been in the past six months--because of the work from home situation. For someone who has extreme anxiety issues, I had decided this at the very onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown that I’ll keep myself really busy. Thus, I have been writing stories, working out for an hour, and also working on my Ph.D. research everyday since March.
Honestly, it worked in the beginning and I was legit crashing by 11 every night. However, dousing myself in heap loads of work isn’t working anymore. No matter what I try, I JUST CAN’T SLEEP at night. Most nights, I am wide awake till 4 am while I worry about my family’s health, the future, and the fact that I haven’t seen my boyfriend in half a year now! But it seems like I am not alone. In fact, research suggests that a lot of people across the world have been facing this corona induced insomnia or what’s being called coronasomnia.
A number of web studies conducted in China, France and Italy suggest that around 20 percent of the respondents reported experiencing insomnia or trouble sleeping during the pandemic and the lockdown. Also, as per the Italian search, so adverse were the effects of this coronasomnia that it caused people to lose track of what time, day, or date it was at a given moment.
As per experts, it is the pandemic induced anxiety and the general sense of dread about our lives and future that’s hampering our sleeping patterns. From uncertain careers, financial stability to health concerns, there’s just so much to worry about right now, each of these concerns more pressing than the other.
“Everything that’s going on right now can make people more vulnerable to insomnia,” says Philip Cheng, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and research scientist at the Sleep Disorders Center at Henry Ford Health System. “It’s a vicious cycle: when you lose sleep, your emotions can feel more intense. Your ability to regulate emotions can also become diminished, so existing stressors become more stressful, and the ability to calm down becomes more impaired. Also, as you become more stress-sensitive, your own thoughts become a trigger for stress.”
From reduced productivity to compromised immunity, not sleeping properly can have adverse effects on your body. Thus it is important to fight insomnia at the very onset so that it does not end up wreaking havoc on your entire system. Here's what you can do:
Just because you have been working from home, does not mean you should be sleeping and napping as and when you please. In fact, what you have been regarding as ‘resting’ all this while might be the very reason why you have a compromised sleep cycle.
For a healthy sleep cycle and as well as your physical health, it is important that you stick to a fixed routine and wake up and go to bed at fixed times every day. You can in fact use an alarm not just to wake you up every day, but also to remind you of going to bed.
Also, it would be great if you can start with a nighttime skincare routine. Indulging in a self-care exercise right before bed is an affirmation that you take care of yourself and seek good health and well-being. Here are some products that'll help you with a dedicated CTM routine.
By now you must have been instructed multiple times to stay off electronics before bedtime. There exists ample evidence to prove that the blue light from our electronic gadgets can cause circadian rhythm and thus keep us wide awake when we’re actually supposed to be feeling tired. Also, that doomscrolling you do through the day isn’t doing you any good. Mindless scrolling is effectively contributing to our coronasomina and that’s why it needs to be done away with.
Apart from nutrition and working out, a well-regulated sleep cycle is integral to our overall well being. Think of sleep as an important, sacred part of your day and optimise your environment to induce it. We suggest you take a nice shower before bedtime and change into soft, comfy clothes. Also, optimise your room temperature as per your liking, dim your room lights, and just slip into soft, fresh linen.
It is very important to remain cognisant of our blessings, especially in the current times. Replace every negative, anxiety-provoking thought that attacks you at night with a happy, positive one. Make it a habit to write down everything that you are thankful for.
We do understand how sitting at home might be inspiring you constantly to go for another snack or that extra mug of coffee. We hate to break it to you that it needs to be stopped right away. All that caffeine is doing no good to your already hampered sleep cycle and it’s only wise that you cut off any caffeine intake after 2 pm.
The thought that you have to answer each and every call and message that you receive throughout the day makes you extra alert, so much so that you are on a lookout for new notifications and communication even while you are resting. While you can’t dodge the work calls and communication, we suggest that you put your phone on the DND mode for a couple of hours post work. This will help you with a phone detox and can actually do wonders to your sleep cycle.
Lastly, it is important to recognise that these are tough times for everyone and while you struggle with your insomnia, those around you must be struggling too. Don't forget to check on them, reach out when they need your help, and fight the pandemic challenges together.
Featured Image: Unsplash