We have been serious about sleep for years, consistently promoting and encouraging everyone to improve not only their amount of sleep but the quality too. And while plenty of us didn't get enough sleep before the pandemic, now the virus is playing havoc with our precious sleep patterns and more of us are missing out on that magical 7-9 hours of good quality slumber we need and love.
Experts call the phenomenon Coronasomnia and some say it has reached pandemic levels across the globe. So what is Coronasomnia and what can we do about it?
Sleep is always vital, but right now it matters even more. Annoyingly, times like this also make it pretty hard to sleep, or at least to sleep well, thanks to stress, loneliness, a lack of stimulation, not getting enough exercise, uncertainty and worry, fear and depression. The profound life-changes Covid has forced upon us are making us feel very anxious and unhappy and disturbed sleep only makes things worse. As we all know, the more you can’t sleep, the more you worry about it.
The problem is affecting everyone of every age. According to Angela Drake, a clinical professor in the USA, while insomnia was a problem before Covid, “Now, from what we know anecdotally, the increase is enormous.” A big part of getting the sleep you need is persuading a restless mind to wind down. That's a real challenge when the world's going mad around you and uncertainty is the name of the game. Luckily you can set up a suite of simple, formal bedtime routines that'll help improve your sleep.
Here's our 12 best practical tips on how to manage Coronasomnia and whilst we can’t claim they will cut out the impact on your physical and emotional well-being, these trusted methods are ones we have been advocating for years alongside our gorgeous, indulgent sleep-inducing treats to enjoy at the end of every day. Together, these should help you get back on track. And remember if you don't sleep well every now and again, don't worry, that’s perfectly normal but when it becomes regular, night after night, it's time to act.
- Don't nap during the day or drink more alcohol than usual – both will disrupt your sleep.
- Try to stick to a daily routine that's as similar as possible to the routine you had before the virus. It'll help things feel more normal – in fact normality and routine are key to your body knowing when to switch off and when to get going. Don’t sleep in or stay up late.
- It's tempting, but don't work in bed. Reserve your bed for sleeping.
- If you're working from home, ensuring that you are not always contactable is vital. So take your usual breaks away from your desk and hide the phone in a drawer whilst you do!
- Walk every day, even if it's only around the block – the fresh air will rejuvenate you and the light will help provide your body with the vitamin D it needs for good health.
- Eat your evening meal early, at least four hours before bedtime, so your body doesn't have to stay awake to digest it.
- Reduce the amount of news you watch and cut back on social media. Both can make you feel overwhelmed with negativity when there's no need. We're not wired to handle constant news alerts and headlines, they just keep ringing the alarm bells, which only makes us feel more stressed.
- Turn the lights down a couple of hours before bedtime and turn off your mobile – blue light from screens, including TV, keeps your brain awake because it needs dim light to produce melatonin, the hormone that drives our natural sleep cycle. Read a book or magazine in bed instead of fiddling with your mobile phone or tablet.
- Chamomile tea or Lavender tea will help soothe you before bed – but caffeine will keep you awake so no coffee in the 8 hours before bed. Don’t’ forget there is caffeine in tea, although lower this will still have an affect.
- Meditation can improve sleep and lower stress by focusing your attention on the all-important mind-body connection. It actually makes real positive changes in the brain. A quick way is to settle your breathing, taking even a few conscious breaths tells your brain it's time to prepare for sleep. If you can stretch, meditate or practice gently yoga before bed to help ease you down into a state of sleepy calm that’s even better.
- Being grateful for the things you have helps you to deal with the sadness and stress of the things you've lost. It's a sort of DIY CBT and can work surprisingly well to reduce stress. Writing down the positives from your day before you sleep is a great way to help your mind re-focus itself.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and a cool 60 to 70 degrees and don't let pets sleep with you – they fidget more than toddlers!
And if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, get up and do something different to give your brain and body a change of scene. Don't do something so exciting it gets you all worked up. Do something simple, ideally something fairly boring!
Create a beautiful sleep ritual to ease you into a lovely, relaxed state
Now is the perfect time to treat yourself and create a lovely sleep ritual rich in symbolism. Maybe start off by dimming the lights and running a warm bath, not too hot. Perhaps light tea lights or scented candles, even incense. Read a great book – there's something so indulgent about reading in the bath! Or play quiet, relaxing music. Wear sleep clothes you feel wonderful in. After just a few days these actions will subtly send sleep-ready signals to your brain.
Personally, we like to treat ourselves like princesses at bedtime. Slipping on a stunning Mulberry Silk Kaftan, a delight to sleep in with its silky, smooth luxurious Silk before making our way into our wonderfully cool, dark, quiet bedrooms. Wrapping our hair in a gorgeous Silk Hair Turban to keep it shiny and healthy and popping on a real Silk Sleep Mask to ensure total darkness all night long, before lying back on the soft, slinky luxury of a Pure Silk Pillow. If it's chilly, a pair of our sumptuous Soft Wool Bed Socks and a freshly filled Silk Velvet Hot Water Bottle complete the dream. Let’s face it, when bedtime feels this good, great sleep comes easier.