Life can be full of stress-inducing things - but, for many of us, right now could be one of the most worrisome times we’ve ever experienced. The pandemic the world is facing currently is enough for anyone to lose sleep over. Yet, at times like this, it’s important to remember that sleep hygiene is just as crucial for our wellbeing as... well, regular hygiene!
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is simply another way of talking about bedtime routines. Ensuring that you have the best conditions possible for the perfect night’s sleep helps to combat sleep issues linked to worry and anxiety, like insomnia. According to some research, around a fifth of us are reporting disrupted sleep due to concerns about Coronavirus. Since poor quality sleep can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health, it’s more important than ever to be well rested and ready to face the challenges of the next day with composure.
How coronavirus anxiety can affect your sleep hygiene
For most of us, our normal lives are grounded in structure and routine. We wake up, we go to work, we come home, we go to bed. However, with the majority of us now working from home -- or even dealing with redundancy -- we now find ourselves with a lot more free time, which often isn’t put to good use. With anxiety comes restlessness, and worry about the unknown and that which we can’t control. Add a lack of our usual routines to this, and it’s not surprising that this restlessness transfers to our sleep habits, too. Being in isolation can also affect our mental health; boredom, loneliness, and frustration are all negative feelings that can linger on through the nice and prevent us from sleeping well.
Be that as it may, there are plenty of actions we can all take to combat coronavirus anxiety and get well on our way to that perfect night’s sleep.
How to achieve good sleep hygiene
1. Make sure to wind down
Stress and anxiety have the tendency to make us tense, which is the opposite of what you want when trying to get the best quality sleep. Having a fun and relaxing pre-bedtime activity that helps you to unwind can be extremely helpful and gets you in the right place, psychologically, for sleeping. But, this doesn’t mean curling up with Netflix in bed - bright lights and screens have been proven to disturb our natural circadian rhythm and disrupt sleep. Instead, try practicing yoga, listening to peaceful music, or reading a good book. Whether it’s slipping into some luxury pyjamas, or freshening up your bed with 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, the moments before bedtime should be looked forward to.
2. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day
Perhaps easier said than done, but this is all the more important in the current circumstances. Spending almost all of our time at home can lead us to undermine the importance of structure in our daily lives, and often we end up neglecting it as a result. Ensuring that you go to bed and get up at the same time each day helps to bring your mind in line with the natural rhythm of your body. As bedtime approaches, your body will recognise that it’s almost time to sleep, and it will make drifting off that bit easier.
3. Make your bedroom a sleep haven
This is quite possibly the most important point in this list. Creating a space for our minds to simply be at peace and leave our worries outside the door may just be the best way to beat sleep issues caused by anxiety. The aim here is to build a strong association between your bedroom, peacefulness, and sleep. Avoiding things that weaken that association is a must - that means no bright screens, no disruptive noises, and, crucially, no uncomfortable mattress!
When you sleep, your body prefers a cool temperature of around 18C and 24C, meaning that a thermo-regulating hybrid mattress and cotton pyjamas and bed linens are must-haves. To help create your perfect sleep setting, take a look at our Brook + Wilde beds and award-winning mattresses.
4. Keep a sleep diary
Keeping a diary is a great way to find patterns in our daily habits that may contribute to our restlessness at night. Maybe you’re checking the news every spare moment for coronavirus updates, or drinking too much coffee to battle the working from home fatigue. Pinpointing these habits can help eliminate them and increase the likelihood of a perfect night’s sleep.
Another benefit of journal writing is letting out your worries and negative emotions. By putting these down on page, you free up space in your mind for positivity and relaxation - both very conducive to being very well-rested.