Good sleep hygiene is central to self care and healthy coping as we make our way through this challenging time. When we are under stress our daily routines tend to get disrupted. During times of stress it is important to ensure we are getting enough sleep to help us regulate our emotions and responses to stress. Good sleep hygiene includes:
- Go to bed around the same time each night and get up around the same time each morning.
- Only try to sleep when you are tired. If you find that you are having trouble falling asleep get up and do something relaxing or boring (e.g. do not watch TV) until you feel sleepy. One suggestion some of us have found helpful is to listen to podcasts or audiobooks that are a bit boring or use the sleep meditations available on free Apps such as Insight Timer.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before bed.
- Avoid taking naps during the day. If you have to have a nap, take one before 3pm and make sure it is less than an hour long in duration.
- Use your bed for sleeping, nothing else to signal to your body that it is time to sleep.
- Turn off the lights, TV, and put away your phone when trying to sleep. These further activate your body and make it more difficult to fall asleep and it is best to avoid light from TV, computer, and smartphones 2 hours before bed.
- Regular exercise can help with your sleep and is helpful for reducing stress.
- Avoid checking news sites or social media before bed. This can activate your stress response, making it harder to fall asleep.
In closing out this series of blog posts, keep in front of mind that the world has endured incredibly challenging circumstances throughout time, both in the recent and distant past. We are resilient. We will get through this. Remember to Keep Calm and Carry On.