Struggling to sleep recently? You’re not alone. According to recent studies, 22% of people have reported having sleep troubles since the covid19 pandemic started, with the use of anti-insomnia and anti-anxiety medications spiking in both the US and UK throughout the period March-May 2020.
And while there are many factors that can cause an uncomfortable night’s sleep (stress, allergies, illness) — during lockdown, we’ve been faced with even more external stresses that might be reasons why we’re struggling to switch off.
A lack of routine and exercise, overexposure to the news (resulting in anxiety and stress) financial worries and even working from your bed can lead to problems when you’re trying to get some sleep at the end of an exhausting day.
So what can you do? The term ‘sleep wellness’ is overused, but the message remains true. It’s important to prepare yourself for sleep — not just once you get into bed, but as you wind down through the evening.
Has your caffeine intake slowly crept up whilst in lockdown? Working from home can make that second, third or fourth cup of coffee tempting when the kettle’s sat right there. If you have been upping your caffeine intake (which remember, could also be from chocolate, tea or other caffeinated drinks) give yourself a 2pm cut-off. This way, you can allow the caffeine ‘spike’ to work its way out of your system, making sure your circadian rhythm (aka your internal body clock) isn’t disrupted.
It’s no secret that magnesium can be seriously helpful when trying to regulate your sleep pattern. But how does it actually work?
There are a couple of ways magnesium prepares us for sleep. It sends a signal to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed) which in turn, lets your body knows that it’s ready to start winding down to rest.
But not only that, magnesium also regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides the the sleep-wake cycles in your body — meaning you’re less likely to have disrupted sleep, once you do nod off.
If you’re struggling to sleep, you might find that you end up dreading going to bed— as the thought of lying awake and frustrated for hours leads to even more stress.
Ditch the screens (TV, laptop and your phone) two hours before you hit the sack and instead, make time for self-care: have a bath, do your skincare routine or read.
If you’ve got yourself into an insomnia rut, try to break the cycle and create a brand new sleep haven that will allow yourself to look forward to getting into bed. Invest in some fancy pyjamas, a new pillow spray or a Himalayan salt lamp — whatever works to help you relax, wind-down and look forward to sleep.