Sleep is such a critical element when it comes to good overall health. Unfortunately, consistent lack of sleep can put our safety at risk, affect our mental health, and it can weaken our immune system. The best way to stay healthy during this time is by focusing on your 3 pillars of health – staying active, eating well, and getting the right amount of sleep.
How to Get Back-at-It and Sleep Well in a COVID World
Get Back to Routine
Let’s be honest, this pandemic has kicked routine out the window for many of us. And it’s time to bring back bedtime and stick to a more consistent routine for our kids and ourselves. If you are aiming to get in a consistent 7-8 hour of sleep each night, base your bedtime on your wake time in the morning and then practice the 80/20 rule of sleep. 80% of the time keep those consistent bedtimes and wake times for your entire family.
At Good Night Sleep Site, we are always talking about how it’s time to bring back bedtime and the wind down routine that you or your child implements is so important. Make sure you are allowing at least an hour before bedtime to allow yourself to wind down before you go to bed.
Something to keep in mind though if you are doing it all right and following that consistent bedtime but still having a hard time falling asleep make bedtime a bit later! For those of you struggling to fall asleep at night, only go to bed when you are tired and that may mean a later bedtime than usual. As it gets easier and easier for you to fall asleep you can start making that bedtime a bit earlier again.
Protect Your Sleep Space
While we’ve been quarantining in our homes, our bedrooms may have become the catch all room. Our home office, kids hangout spot, home gym. It’s important to clear that clutter and create an inviting sleep environment. We should be sleeping 85% of the time that we are in bed and we always want to make sure that our bedrooms are set up for sleep (and sex) only in order to create a positive association between sleep and your bed. It’s when we are spending a lot of awake time in our bed, surfing, streaming, or reading where we can find that we really start struggling with falling asleep and the tossing and turning begins.
So, what can you do to set up your sleep sanctuary? Start by removing the clutter and distractions. And that may be hard to do during the day because you have to work in your room or your child may be online learning and their room that has to become their classroom now, but you can make sure that when work and school is done for the day you can still tidy up and put things away so that you aren’t staring at things like your stressful work files right before you go to bed.
Also incorporate some relaxing sleep tools that can help you sleep better. Eye masks, mediation app, aromatherapy, journals, or something that is gaining a lot of popularity, a weighted blanket. It provides a firm, deep pressure stimulation that affects the nervous system and raises our serotonin levels, which allows us to calm down and relax, and have a decrease in anxiety.
Let’s Talk Tech
You all knew this one was coming. You knew I was going to tell you to kick tech to the curb right? Wrong! Not all tech is created equal and instead of removing it all what if we just set some boundaries on the good and the bad.
Will the bright screens keep you up at night? They could. If you are currently struggling with sleep then my recommendation would be to remove all tech and avoid bright screens at least an hour before bedtime to keep that sleep switch turned on in your head.
I’m a mom of 3 and whether you’re a mom or not, the evening night for many of us is the time to relax and unwind and surf and stream if we want to. I like to do that as well! So here’s where I’m not going to tell you to remove all tech but be mindful of what tech you are allowing in right before you go to bed.
Here’s what to avoid:
Right before you go to bed let’s avoid falling down the Instagram hole if it’s giving you FOMO or heightening stress and anxiety levels. Shut it down.
Work and/or school emails or projects. Right before you go to bed is not time to read the latest email from your boss or hit that project deadline.
Stay away from breaking news or let’s be honest, lately just stay away from the news altogether right before you go to bed because lately none of its good. It’s just not.
If you are sensitive to violence or horror it’s probably not the best genre to choose of show to stream right before you go to bed.
Here’s some Good Night Sleep Site approved tech!
Any shows or movies that you know for you personally won’t keep your mind racing at bedtime.
Not all social media is bad provided it leaves you feeling positive and calm. Whether it’s an Instagram Live you want to watch or dive into Tik Tok trust your emotions to only immerse yourself into videos that make you feel good and won’t amplify any stress or anxiety.
There are some great platforms to seek out if you are struggling with sleep, mediation and mindful breathing apps, calming and relaxing bedtime audio stories, white noise apps, and bedtime lullabies. These are encouraged for all ages for those who truly need it.
For those that have children and teens that may be struggling with sleep or they’re going back to school and you’re concerned tech habits they’ve picked up during quarantine are going to be hard to break this is where you need to sit down together as a family and go over everything I just spoke about. If you want to avoid the battle but still want to protect their sleep help them set their own boundaries with their night time tech and work together towards both your sleep goals.
At the end of the day of you or your children’s tech boundaries are being broken and now sleep is really being affected then it may be time to remove it completely out of the bedroom and create a family docking station within your home where everyone can plug in overnight.
So, let’s recap! There are 3 quick tips that you can start to implement in your own healthy sleep plan.
1. Get back onto a consistent 80/20 sleep routine and only go to bed when you are tired.
2. Create a sleep sanctuary by clearing clutter and distractions and incorporate sleep tools that can help you.
3. Set boundaries on what tech you allow yourself to be immersed in before bedtime and kick it to the curb and create a family docking station within your home if you really need to.
Remember it takes 21 days to change a habit so nothing is going to happen overnight but be consistent in the steps you take and you will be rocking some healthy sleep soon!