How to sleep when there’s a global pandemic happening

This year has taken a toll on all of us, we'll give you some tips on how to sleep through it
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN)- The most common mental health affliction people have reported in 2020 has been difficulty sleeping.

Researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada did a study that found that the pandemic is ruining a good night’s sleep for many people.

Researches looked at a group of around 190,000 participants who had been most heavily affected by the pandemic: survivors, family members, and health care workers. Compared to the general population on a normal basis, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and PTSD rates are significantly worse than before the pandemic.

23.87% of people who have been affected by COVID-19 reported having insomnia, and the rates just keep on climbing.

Sleep is vital for your body and mind to repair themselves, to have time to shut down from the insanity of the world.

Especially during the COVID-19 crisis, sleep is crucial to help your body fight off illnesses.

Experts recommend you get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, “People who regularly get fewer than six hours of sleep are at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cognitive decline, and death from any cause.”

We’re here to help though! Here are five ways to get a better night’s rest when it feels like the world is crumbling around you.

Get your body into a reliable rhythm 

Waking up at the same time every day helps get your body into a reliable rhythm. Our bodies rest and wake to the age-old day-night cycle, just like plants and animals. If you wake up early during the weekdays but sleep in on the weekends, you’re essentially giving your body jetlag. Creating a consistent schedule for yourself will give you a better quality of sleep.

Energize earlier

30-40 minutes of light exposure in the morning is a good way to let your body know it needs to start grinding. If you can’t kick the caffeine, try to have it in the morning and not the afternoon. If you go to bed with caffeine in your system, about 50% of it will linger in your bloodstream–directly inhibiting one of your body’s sleep compounds, adenosine. Exercising earlier in the day is always a better idea for your body as well.

Have a bedtime routine

As silly as it sounds, yes, a bedtime routine is a good way of controlling your body’s schedule. You should start winding down as soon as the sun sets. Unfortunately for those of us in Nebraska this time of year, that means 5 p.m. But to our brains, bright light means daytime. That ties into the modern dilemma of screen time before bed. It’s hard to tell people to limit their screen time before sleeping when scrolling through social media in bed is many people’s usual bedtime routine, but, the body responds to a screen’s light just the same as daylight. Wearing blue-light glasses and downloading apps like F.lux, which filters out the bright blue light that gets in the way of our sleep, are ways to combat this. Within three hours of going to sleep, you should be limiting light–maybe turn on a lamp instead of the ceiling lights–and limiting alcohol and food consumed in order to give your body time to rest.

Make a sleep sanctuary

Birds have nests, we have sleep sanctuaries. In a year when many of us were working from home, separating the bedroom from the rest of your life can be difficult, but experts say the bedroom should be for two things: sleep and intimacy. You should create a comforting atmosphere in your bedroom. Touching back to the point before, one simple way is finding softer light sources. Whether that be lamps, string lights, or LED lights that are popular with Gen Zers, a softer light source helps show your body it’s time to slow down. Don’t do work from bed. Teach your body that your bed is for one thing: resting.

No more napping

Like babies, you have to train yourself to sleep when you want to. Because many people are having trouble sleeping at night, they are tired during the day, resulting in naps. While there are mixed opinions on naps in the slumber community, the overall consensus is that short naps trump long ones. If your nap is over 2 hours long, it could lead to sleep deprivation that night.

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