7 ways to avoid “coronasomnia” and get a better night’s sleep
The COVID-19 pandemic has consumed almost every aspect of people’s lives, and a large number of them can no longer cope. As the resulting stress, anxiety, and uncertainty from it all is causing many people to suffer from sleepless nights, experts have coined a new term known as “coronasomnia” – a portmanteau of “coronavirus” and “insomnia”.
Not only does being unable to sleep affect your moods, which can then spiral into more sleepless nights, but it can also lead to multiple health problems further down the line. If you, too, find yourself reaching for sleeping pills at night, this Pacific Prime Latin America article gives you 7 tips to treat coronavirus insomnia.
1. Routines are a great way to retain a sense of normalcy in these unprecedented times
Although working from home certainly has advantages like increased flexibility, it can also disrupt a person’s normal daily routine. If you’re working and sleeping at weird hours each night, then your ‘circadian rhythms’ will be disrupted. Put simply, this is essentially your body’s timing mechanism that controls activity and inactivity, which can affect your sleep, amongst other things like eating, digestion, and immune response.
Try adding routine back into your life in whatever shape or form that suits you. One popular trend is “fake commuting”. This is when a remote worker engages in a daily commute, just like if they were going to and coming back from an office. What’s more, you should also give yourself regular breaks during the day. Sticking to similar times each day will ensure your sleep cycle is regulated.
2. Don’t have a home office? Work from anywhere but your bedroom
If you’ve got a home office, then you’re in luck as not everyone has a comfortable and distraction-free place to work. But if not, then you should create a makeshift office anywhere fitting in your house, except in your bedroom or worse, on your bed. This distinction between work and rest is vital to ensure you can easily switch off before going to bed.
Pro tip: To clearly mark the boundaries between work and rest, you can also take it up a notch by engaging in relaxing activities and/or self-care rituals after the end of your work day. This could be cooking yourself a nice meal, reading a book, taking a bath, lighting a candle, amongst many others.
3. Avoid taking naps no matter how tempting it may be
While you may feel like napping if you’re hitting the hay, it may be a better idea to power through your tiredness for one day, than to risk having a poor quality of sleep for many nights to come. This is because naps can make it harder for you to sleep later at night. With that said, if you do need to nap, the Sleep Foundation recommends that you:
- Take short naps: Ever feel groggy after waking up from a nap? According to various studies, 10 minutes is an ideal duration for your nap. It enables you to get a quick rest, without entering what’s called a slow-wave sleep and wake up feeling really fatigued.
- Take naps in the early afternoon: Napping before 2 pm means you will be getting light and REM sleep. On the other hand, napping after 2 pm means you will enter slow-wave sleep. The latter can disrupt your sleep cycle.
4. Go easy on the alcohol and caffeine, and don’t eat too late at night
A shot of espresso may indeed wake you up, while a glass of wine may help you relax. That being said, both caffeine and alcohol can mess up your sleep patterns. Furthermore, while you may find it easier to fall asleep after having alcohol, you’ll find it harder to stay asleep or sleep well. Strive for optimal levels of sleep and not relying on quick fixes.
Speaking of foods and drinks, make sure you’re not eating too late. Give yourself at least a few hours after dinner and bedtime, as the intake of food prompts the release of insulin, which is a process linked to the circadian rhythm. Additionally, food can signal wakefulness in the brain and contribute to poor sleep. Unfortunately, this means late night snacking is also a big no.
5. Remember to go outside and get active
Exercise does wonders for your health. It releases endorphins and can also make you feel more positive, not to mention how it can get your body in sync and help you sleep better at night. However, be sure to finish exercising at least a few hours before going to bed to allow your body to cool down and slow down. The last thing you want is to go to bed with that adrenaline still pumping!
In addition to this, there’s another benefit of exercising. Due to COVID-19 related lockdowns, you probably haven’t gone out as much to the movies, restaurants, cafes, or other places of social interactions.This lack of stimulation and activities can get to you and contribute to poor sleep. As such, exercise is a way to get this much-needed stimulation when life becomes too repetitive and boring.
6. Cut back on reading the news (and screen time), especially at night
With things changing on a day-to-day basis, coupled with people urged to socially distance, it may be tempting to reach for your phone to check the news. After all, it’s normal to want to know what’s going on when things are so uncertain. In moderation this is fine, but if you’re mostly consuming COVID-19 related news, then things can get depressing. What’s more, cut back on reading the news close to bedtime, as you’ll find it harder to wind down and go to sleep.
Alerts on your devices can also be quite damaging. Imagine waking up at night, glancing at your phone, and seeing a breaking news headline that makes you worry. You don’t want your sleep interrupted, so aim to silence the devices and disable notification. If possible, switch them off for the night entirely as the light from these devices signals your body to stay up and suppresses the release of melatonin, a hormone part of the sleep cycle and that helps one sleep.
7. End the day on a positive note: practice meditation or similar activities
Meditation can be incredibly beneficial if you’re suffering from coronasomia. It emphasizes the importance of the mind-body connection, helps you eliminate all the worries from your day, and go to bed feeling lighter and calmer. In fact, studies even show that meditation lowers our stress hormones and brings about positive changes in the brain. If you’re unsure how to meditate, don’t worry as there are guided meditation apps that can help.
Not your cup of tea? There are many other things you could do that can help you achieve a similar effect. For example, journaling has become increasingly popular, as there’s something therapeutic about writing. Forget about grammar and spelling, and write for yourself only. Try penning down a recent positive experience that will leave you feeling happier before going to bed and increase your sleep quality.
Struggling with your sleep? Need to see a doctor or therapist? Get health insurance via Pacific Prime Latin America
If you’re finding it hard to go to sleep, despite following the aforementioned suggestions, or have post-COVD-19 insomnia, then you’ll need medical advice. Serious cases of sleeplessness may even need cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, which is a structured program guided by a sleep therapist that helps you learn how to sleep. Unfortunately, good private healthcare in Latin America can be heavy on your pocket, so it’s securing health insurance.
Whether you’re looking for individual health insurance, including those with pre-existing conditions coverage, or any other type of health insurance plan, Pacific Prime Latin America can help. Our knowledgeable and friendly advisors offer you an unbiased insurance consultation and help you compare health insurance quotes, so that you can find the best plan for your needs and budget.
Contact us today!
Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
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