Disruptions to everyday life have been felt all over the county since the UK was placed into lockdown on the 23rd March 2020, forcing people to quickly acclimatise to spending more time at home.
With lives having to transform in such a short space of time, the impact to our daily routine has been a significant one. Many individuals are no longer able to work, while others do not have a specific time to get up to make it to work or school. This has resulted in an increase of people expressing difficulty sleeping and feelings of grogginess across social media.
Grogginess is a phase between being asleep and awake, when the person affected does not feel fully awake. This causes you to feel drowsy, disorientated, clumsy and can affect the way you think. So why is this happening to more people during the current pandemic?
Reduced exposure to daylight is a possible cause of you feeling groggy. Daylight is our biological signal to alertness. So, with our time outside limited, we start to feel less alert throughout the day. When falling asleep, we get an increase in a hormone called melatonin. This is ‘switched off’ by light, so by not getting exposure to light in the mornings as we normally do then there’s a likelihood that we will feel sleepier for longer.
So how can you get a better night’s sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic? The main thing you can try and do is accept that you aren’t sleeping well. Worrying about not being able to sleep, unfortunately, makes us anxious. Ultimately, this results in a worse night’s sleep. If you’re in bed and can’t sleep, try going into a different room and read a book or listen to a podcast. This helps to calm you down, helping your body prepare for sleep.
To improve your alertness, try and get a decent amount of exposure to natural daylight in the morning. We have been blessed with some glorious weather, ideal for sitting out in the garden with your morning coffee. If this isn’t an option, do your daily exercise outside in the morning. In the evening try and create a wind-down routine that you do each night before going to bed. This will help to relax you and train your body into realising it is time to shut off for the day.
Working from home can make sleeping especially hard, as it’s difficult to separate work life and personal life. Try to work in rooms that you don’t relax in, particularly the bedroom. Dress for work in the morning and change again when the work day is over. This will help you differentiate your work and home life.
If you are able, spend time de-cluttering your bedroom, creating a space that is relaxing and calm. Our blog on turning your bedroom into a place of sanctum has some tips to help you with this here:
It’s important to not be so hard on yourself at this current time. We have been forced to very quickly become accustomed to a new way of life in a very short space of time. This is bound to affect how you are sleeping, working and feeling. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, so please try some of the examples in this article and hopefully you will start to notice a positive change in your sleeping pattern.