Hands up who let lockdown and college closure COMPLETELY ruin their sleeping pattern? Yep, us too.
We know so many of you have been having trouble sleeping recently and we know that the last thing you want to be worrying about on top of everything else is how much sleep you’re getting. But don’t panic, what you’re experiencing is a completely normal reaction to the scary world we’re living in right now!
When we feel anxious and worried about things (another completely normal reaction to living through a global pandemic!) it makes it harder for us to fall asleep. This is a natural response from our body trying to protect us. When we feel under threat and in danger, it makes more sense for us to be awake so we can see when that threat could attack. But COVID-19 isn’t a scary monster that will creep out from under our beds and get us in the night, so staying awake isn’t going to help keep us safe. In fact, poor quality sleep is only going to make it harder for us to process what is going on around us.
However, improving your sleeping pattern doesn’t have to be difficult! Dr Neil Stanley, Director of Sleep Science at Sleep Station, explains that small changes can make a big difference.
Maintaining a bedtime routine (or any kind of routine) was something a lot of people struggled with when college was closed. Now that we are open to students once again and you are travelling to college for face-to-face learning this will hopefully get your sleep schedule back on track.
Even on the days that you are remote learning, try to get up at a similar time that you would when you’re in college.
A relaxed mind is key to achieving a good nights sleep and will also help you to fall asleep. Just as our brains are all very different, what makes them relax is different too! Try out some of the suggestions below and once you find one that works, stick to it:
- Listen to your favourite music or ambient music for sleep
- Do a puzzle
- Talk to a loved one
- Read a book
- Focus on your breathing while visualising a tranquil scene
Remember the saying “never go to bed angry”? Well, while this might not always be possible, it is actually a great mantra for getting a good nights sleep. Engaging in activities that make us feel angry or stressed just before we go to bed will make it really hard to get to sleep.
So if your brother/sister has done something really irritating, right before you go to bed is not the time to start an argument about it. The same goes for checking emails or looking at the news – try and avoid this before going to bed, it can wait until the morning when you are refreshed and ready to deal with any potential stresses.
Do you find yourself lying awake in bed thinking about everything you need to get done tomorrow? Or worrying about something that may or may not happen?
If this sounds like you then set aside some time before you go to bed to write all your worries down and plan how you are going to tackle them. You can try using our worry worksheet by clicking here.
The impact that our diet has on our sleep is bigger than you might think. Eating or drinking too much late at night can interrupt your sleep pattern and you’ll likely find yourself waking in the night to use the loo. Think about your caffeine intake. Try swapping your tea, coffee, energy drinks and fizzy drinks for a warm milky drink or herbal tea before bed.