So 2020 is just giving us one blow after another. There’s the COVID-19 pandemic that has had large segments of the world population on lockdown, which has led to most of us to work from home for fear that we can get the virus. Then, civil unrest ensued as those demanding for racial equality took to the streets despite lockdown orders, only to be compounded by those who are protesting the strict lockdown measures such as the closing of businesses and wearing of face masks when in public. One thing is for sure, though: All these developments have surely done a number on our mental well-being.
Because most of us have been stuck in our houses, all sorts of activities have been confined in the various parts of our residences. Meals can be taken anywhere without set times, kitchen counters have become a common site for video conferences, and watching TV shows have transferred from the living room to the bed, just so that we can squeeze one more episode of The Crown or Money Heist. And yes, for most of us dedicated to working, our reviews of office documents go beyond 5 o’clock. With anxiety, uncertainty, and fear of the state of our health and future, we have become a world of unrest.
Sleeping habits have been compromised for most of us because we want to make sure we don’t slack off at work, we want to be constantly updated of friends and family we haven’t seen in months by checking on social media accounts every 10 minutes, and we want to keep some normalcy in our lives by still being updated on our favorite TV shows. All of these in exchange for not having enough sleep. With that, it is hoped that we realize that there is a problem and that it should something that we need to act on because rest and sleep are quite important to both our physical and mental health.
The pandemic has forced everyone into lockdown, so most of us may have shared experiences about working from home. A majority of us find it difficult to stick to a routine because once we are about to get into the groove of a habit, something happens that throws us off. Then, we develop into bad habits like sitting and staring into our laptop for hours and disrupt our sleeping patterns. No wonder recent studies reveal that since the pandemic, the world has failed on getting enough sleep.
Nearly 66% of participants blur the boundaries between work and life, while 55% find it difficult to switch off.
Are you ready to be consistent?
It goes without saying that getting enough sleep has positive effects on our health. But with everything going on in the world, there are just too many distractions that hinder us from getting it. Moreover, good sleep can only be achieved when people commit and develop a habit out of it. Thus, we need to be consistent with our habits so that sleeping will come to us naturally. According to celebrated author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 21 days to form a habit. James Clear counters with 66 days. The question is, are you ready to invest anywhere from 21 to 66 days of consistently sleeping at the same time, zero distractions in your quest to have enough sleep?
You can help your body establish a defined internal rhythm by keeping bedtimes, wake-up times, meals and exercise on a somewhat consistent schedule. Danforth pointed out that each of these activities sends signals to the brain, which regulates the body’s internal clock and can cue the release of melatonin, a hormone that can relax the body and help you get to sleep.
Keep work and sleep separately
As mentioned earlier, it has become a norm for most of us to bring work even in bed. Whether it is to check some documents before getting our z’s or being in the comforts of bed for a late-night video conference, we seem to have converted our beds into an extended workstation. Moreover, because we bring our work to bed, the blue light emitted from our gadgets can further delay sleep. Thus, we need to make an effort to keep work out of the bedroom. Your bed should only be for sleeping, all other activities such as eating, social media checking, and especially working, must not be permitted.
When it comes to one’s bedroom to ensure a good night’s rest, Mrs Lythgoe advised: “Ensure your bedroom is the perfect place to get a good night’s kip.
“Firstly, be sure to avoid working in your bedroom if you are working remotely during lockdown.
“Associating your bedroom with a workplace may stop you from ‘winding down’ when you do want to go to sleep on an evening."
Make tech work for you
If you are still having difficulty sleeping, why not use apps that encourage meditation and rest? Instead of checking your social media accounts before going to sleep, tap on that mediation or white noise app that should lull you to sleep.
Sleep apps can be useful tools if you’re struggling to put some good sleep habits into practice, whether you need to overhaul your sleep hygiene completely or just keep a closer eye on it. Below, find the best sleep apps to help you build good habits, wind down at night, track your z’s, and wake up feeling refreshed.
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How Do You Sleep? is available on http://www.harddriverecovery.org