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  • Polly Thompson

HOW TO BEAT INSOMNIA DURING THE LOCKDOWN

Updated: May 21


Right now, the question I’m getting asked over and over is all about sleep.


"Why can't I get a good night's sleep during the lockdown?"


It is, quite literally, driving people round the bend.



Picture the scene:

  • You need to do your full-time job

  • Whilst simultaneously trying to homeschool the kids, who’d rather be FaceTiming their friends or playing with their toys (age-dependent!)

  • You struggle to find a quiet spot in the house to work

  • To top it all you need to get everything done before being presentable for the 9 am team Zoom call


IT'S EXHAUSTING.

Sound familiar?


Can you relate to one of the following 3 scenarios?


1. You long for bed but when you get there you can’t get to sleep, your mind is buzzing like a hornet's nest.

2. You’re so tired when you finally flop into bed at the end of the day that you fall asleep instantly. Then 2 am arrives and HELLO, you’re wide awake and your mind is whirring.

3. You sleep ok…for 5 hours. Then you’re awake at 4 am and you know that’s it for the night.


And it’s the same pattern, night after night.


So why is this happening?


Life is very different right now, everything is upside down. All the things we used to count on have become unpredictable:


  • The kids don’t go to school

  • Many adults don’t go to the workplace

  • Most shops are shut

  • Pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed

  • We can’t see our friends

  • We need to stay at home all the time

  • We can only go outside for an hour each day

  • The news only reports one thing. We are reminded daily that people are seriously ill and some are dying of COVID-19.


Imagine if a stressed-out friend was telling you this? You'd probably say:


‘No wonder your sleep is affected!’


But it’s hard to apply that level of compassion to ourselves.


We may not realise that we’re stressed. We are just powering through, trying to adapt to the new world and keep everyone else happy.


So that stress pops up in the most unlikely of places:



Sleep.


It’s a time when we are relaxed and importantly we don’t control our thinking. Our minds can run riot…and they do.


You may find that your anxiety about the Coronavirus only makes itself known through your sleep pattern.


Your mind is full and you are constantly busy, so once you fall asleep it carries on in overdrive and it wakes you up because there’s so much going on.


The Secret to Better Sleep

The good news is there are 3 really easy steps you can take TODAY to help get your sleep back on track!


1. Give yourself the opportunity to get 8 hours sleep

This may sound blindingly obvious but often we take it for granted that we’re going to try for at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we’re doing that we find it’s suddenly midnight and we need to be up in six hours.


Most people need more sleep than that so you’re automatically going to be tired, especially if you're awake for some of the night too.


2. Create a bedtime routine

Ensuring that you have the opportunity to wind down before bed is crucial.

It’s hard to go from being awake and engaged in something to being fast asleep within 15 minutes.


Think about the kind of routine you might put in place for a baby: you give them sleep cues so they know what’s coming. It’s the same for adults we need to convince our brain that it’s tired and wants to go to sleep.


Set a bedtime and spend a couple of hours before relaxing. Maybe take a bath, have a hot drink and put all your screens away at least an hour before you ideally want to be sleep.

3. Stay active

This can easily be overlooked when we’re busy. Now’s the time that we can proudly say that we are following Government advice and get our hour of exercise every day.


Exercise helps on so many levels:


  • A change of scene

  • Fresh air

  • Physical exhaustion

  • Good heart health

  • Connecting to nature


The list is endless and it’s all positive.


It's as simple as that.


So why not try it out and let me know in the comments how you get on.


If you think that you know someone who might benefit from this then feel free to share the love and send them this article or share it on your social media.


Most importantly, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you sleep well tonight.


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