COVID-19 has turned everything upside down.
For several months we have been limited to "zooming" with family members, grocery shopping with gloves and masks, juggling childcare with working from home and cooking all our meals with no dining out. Some have been separated from loved ones, have lost their jobs or have had to grieve losses of friends and family members.
As this new reality stretches endlessly before us, we worry:
- What is the next step?
- When do I get to go back to normal?
- Is it safe?
- Will I have a job?
- Is my child’s day care safe?
- Will there be a second wave of this?
- And the list goes on.
All of this has fractured our routines, and our sleep has been deeply affected. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, many of us felt a bit of freedom. Suddenly there wasn’t a job to get up for every morning or a bus to get the kids on. We could stay up all night watching Netflix; setting a pattern of later nights and later wake up times. And this in turn caused even more anxiety and feelings of hopelessness.
Lack of Sleep=Increase of Anxiety and Depression
Not only does anxiety and depression interfere with proper sleep, the lack of sleep can actually be the cause of anxiety and depression. So, we are anxious and/or depressed because of COVID-19, and then we don’t sleep well, which causes more anxiety and depression. Bad cycle indeed. https://europepmc.org/backend/ptpmcrender.fcgi?accid=PMC5906087&blobtype=pdf
My 4 E’s for a good night sleep:
- Embrace Routines: When so much in our current life is out of control, it is important to control the things we can. You CAN control the time you go to bed and the time you wake up. Those late night movie watching binges are not doing your sleep (and wake up) life any favors. 😉
- Exercise: According to the Sleep Foundation, as little as 15 minutes a day has proven benefits of improving sleep.
- Ensure an unwind before bedtime: Turn off your devices about one hour prior to bedtime. Absolutely avoid the news during this time! Engage in a relaxing activity: Play a game, read a book, plan the next day’s menu or soak in a warm bath.
- Explore it with a professional: COVID-19 can trigger past traumas, adding to the anxiety and depression affecting our sleep. A mental health professional can help you navigate the challenges. Tele-mental health visits from the privacy of your home are simple and secure.
Feel free to reach out with questions!