This blog post isn’t just for the parents or the isolated amongst us. It contains essential information to help you keep up with your sleep during isolation, or any other “out of routine” time in your life. It will help you to implement better sleep habits for your health.
Work responsibilities and disrupted night sleep are some main reasons for that fog we parents feel when we are not getting the sleep we need as individuals. Being in Isolation, with all the emotional baggage that comes with it, plus not having our normal routine, can affect our sleep immensely. If you are experiencing this fog, or simply feeling tired during the day – but then can’t sleep at night, it might be time to reset your body clock.
Just like I’m teaching parents how to help their little ones reset their body clocks, here are a few tips on how to help you do the same.
- Decide on a time that you are ready to go to sleep.
- Go to sleep at approximately that same time every night.
- Try waking up at the same time every morning; even if it means a bit earlier, to be more consistent, and
- Do not rely on your child’s wake up time (that can be a different time each morning).
These few tips will help in establishing your body sleep/wake cycle.
Side note: waking up earlier than your children gives you some time with your coffee/tea/ book, whatever it is you like doing ALONE.
Don’t give up on your daily outing. Try to do it in the morning to get some first light. Natural sunlight is essential for our well-being but even more so when we start to reset our internal clock. If the weather doesn’t permit a morning outing, make sure to turn on bright lights as soon as you wake up and look outside, so your body recognises that the sun is up – even if it’s overcast or raining.
Towards your bedtime dim the lights in your home and bedroom and create a relaxing space for you to unwind. Avoid watching any screens close to bedtime as bright light will block the production of melatonin (sleep hormone) which is essential to the falling asleep process.
Try to have an earlier dinner which is not too big or “heavy”. This will give your body the rest it needs instead of working hard to digest. It is a good tip for weight loss as well.
Try to stop consuming caffeine after lunchtime.
If you are a smoker, know that nicotine is a stimulant. Many people who quit smoking suddenly notice how well they sleep, and how much better they feel as a result of a good night sleep.
Limit your alcohol consumption in the evening. Even though alcohol initially makes you feel relaxed and sleepy, the body’s process of filtering it away from your system can cause wakefulness and affect sleep quality.
I know you know this one – exercise for at least 20 minutes every day.
Try to combine stretch and breathing exercises close to your bedtime.
We are all different and different things will work for different people. Try to adopt a few tips from my list or introduce them to your routine gradually. Just like babies, we all need time to adjust.
Experts say it takes 21 days to create a habit, good luck.