During the COVID-19 pandemic that we are suffering, we can be very affected in our routines and hygiene of life. We are also more exposed to stress and anxiety. This situation can create difficulties in getting quality sleep.
To be able to overcome this crisis with physical and mental health, it is essential to take care of our sleep. Let’s first talk a bit about its importance.
What is sleep and why is it so important?
Sleep is one of the pillars of our health. It allows us to rest and regenerate to be energized during the day and thus be able to deal with our daily activities and emotions.
Sleep is a vital necessity common to all mammals, fish, insects and birds. Throughout our lives we spend a third of our time sleeping. That is, the importance of this activity is essential in health, for a proper functioning of our body.
Apparently, it would be a (selective) classification center of the information acquired by our brain, and even a cleanser of the aggressions suffered by our organism. Lack of sleep causes harmful effects on our body: fatigue, decreased concentration, irascibility … A decrease in its quality or quantity can also promote serious pathologies (diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s …) as well as accidents domestic, traffic and labor.
It is very important for all of us to increase its quality and thanks to it our vitality and well-being.
How can we take care of our sleep in a general way?
One of the most important tools is respect for our biological clocks. In your daily routine try to respect these key points
Be in contact with the light of the outside day one hour or even, better two. Prioritize this activity in the morning if you can.
Follow our daily routines: try to do your daily activities at the same time as always: eat, play sports … One of the most important points is to get up every day at the same time. Getting up too late on the weekend creates jetlag and doesn’t allow us to get a good night’s sleep the rest of the week. It is also advisable to go to sleep at the same time each day. If you have gone to bed late on the weekend you can get up up to an hour later.
Take care of our bedroom. First of all, be in your bedroom just to make love and rest. Thus, our mind associates the space with rest and not with daytime activities. Do not take work or study materials to bed. If you can’t sleep at night, get up and do relaxing tasks: reading on the couch, puzzles … It is also very important to sleep in a cool space at a temperature of around 18º.
Avoid exposure to blue light at night: it is highly recommended to leave the screens 1 hour or 2 hours before sleeping. Prioritize relaxing activities, talks with your loved ones, reading, meditation, hot shower …
Take care of our diet: do not forget to eat in a balanced way every day. It is important to have a good daily intake of vegetables and fruits, whole grains and legumes. They will provide you with fibers, vitamins and minerals so that your body can have all the micronutrients it needs to get a good night’s sleep. Additionally, it is convenient to dine early and light.
Exercise daily and always before 8:00 p.m. It is very important to expend energy during the day to be able to fall asleep easily at night. In addition, it helps to release stress.
Take a short nap after eating: about 10 to 20 minutes is ideal. Never take a nap of more than 30 minutes or after 4:00 p.m.
Avoid stimulants and alcohol especially after 3:00 p.m. It also avoids smoking, disturbs sleep and can weaken your respiratory system, which will be more fragile against external aggressions such as viruses.
Do relaxing and meditative activities: one of the positive things about the crisis we are experiencing is easy access to stress management practices for free online, such as yoga or meditation. Don’t hesitate, try to practice. Breathing consciously allows us to calm our mind and better live these extraordinary moments.
Take care of excess exposure to the news: It is better not to watch the news too much. Once a day is sufficient. Above all, try to avoid it at night before going to sleep. Instead, prioritize sharing quality moments with your loved ones. If you live, just take the opportunity to call your family or friends and if you use an analog phone better.
* Following these sleep hygiene guidelines allows the vast majority of people to easily get back to sleep well. However, if you notice that you do not succeed despite your efforts or if you think that you may suffer from a sleep disorder, consult your family doctor. In addition, many sleep centers are consulting online. Do not hesitate to contact a specialist.