It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a pretty stressful year thanks to Covid-19 and economic uncertainty. So it’s no surprise that insomnia has been on the increase. Not getting a good night’s sleep can affect everything from your weight to your immune system, but what can you do about it?
Reading our top tips for a good night’s sleep is a good place to start.
Have a day conducive to sleep
You might think sleeping problems are due to your night-time ritual, but what you do during the day is just as important. With many of us working from home due to the pandemic, many of us are rarely getting outdoors. But aside from the health benefits, stepping outside will help with your sleeping, too.
Exposing yourself to bright sunlight in the morning increases your serotonin levels, which helps with your sleep. If you’re looking out to yet another overcast sky thinking “fat chance”, try at least to keep your home brightly lit. This will help with your circadian rhythm (the time-keeping body clock), improving daytime energy and, in turn, your night-time sleep.
Exercise is also really important in helping you get a good night’s sleep. Again, not always easy if you’re working from home, but even a brisk walk at the start or end of the working day can do wonders. Just don’t leave it too late—the stimulatory effect might keep you awake.
Try to stick to a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time. With limited options outside the home during the pandemic, it’s an ideal time to keep to a schedule. It does mean, however, you might have to forego that weekend lie-in.
We’ve probably all had the good intention of getting an early night, only to still be pottering about at 11 pm having been distracted by one thing or another. We’re used to being woken by an alarm in the morning, but try setting one to go to bed in the evening, too.
The bedtime ritual is also key for some quality shut-eye. Have a wind-down period of at least half an hour away from light-emitting devices. Reading a book or listening to relaxing music will help you get into the right frame of mind for sleep.
Optimise the bedroom environment
Chances are when you turn the lights off at night, you’ve still got any number of primary colours flickering at you from various devices. Cover up any such lights to get the room as dark as you can.
Ideally, your phone should be out of sight. But If you need it for an alarm in the morning, switch it to airplane mode so you’re not tempted to check it during the night (who’s going to message you at 2 am anyway?).
Aim for a cool temperature in the bedroom as a whole, but make it warmer under the covers. Consider cosying up with a hot water bottle—especially in the chilly winter months when you don’t want to rack up the heating bill.
Watch what you consume
Eating and drinking habits can have a big impact on whether you get a good night’s sleep. Caffeine can be a great pick-me-up in the morning, but avoid drinking it later in the day. It can stay in your system for up to 8 hours and may prevent your body from relaxing come bedtime.
Try not to have a substantial meal within 3-4 hours of going to bed. Similarly, drinking alcohol late into the evening can reduce the production of melatonin, which affects sleep patterns. Nicotine, also, is a stimulant, which means smokers tend to not to get the deep sleep required for their body to fully rest.
Consider a new mattress
If you haven’t had a new mattress in 5-8 years, then it might be the reason you’re not sleeping well. Cost may be an issue, especially in Covid times when we’re keeping an eye on the budget. But you don’t have to pay the earth for something that works for you.
Plus, many outlets allow you to try mattresses out—sometimes for up to a year—before you commit.
If you can’t sleep, get up
The pandemic has resulted in anxiety about lots of things, all of which are made 10 times worse when you’re lying awake at 3 am. We sleep in cycles lasting on average 90 minutes, so it’s natural to wake up briefly in between each. But what to do when we can’t then get back to sleep?
Don’t keep checking the clock—it’ll add to your anxiety. And if you still haven’t dozed off after 20 minutes or so, get out of bed and do something relaxing like reading a book or listening to a podcast. When you feel drowsy, head back to bed. Try deep, slow breathing to get you relaxed. And if any negative thoughts pop into your head, just tell yourself, “Everything will be alright.”
We hope these tips will help with your sleeping habits. And one thing that shouldn’t keep you awake at night is how best to send money. It’s easy with TransferGo. Sign up now for easy online money transfers.