Tips to Sleep in Uneasy Times
The world is in the middle of a pandemic and we will continue to adapt as new information unfolds. As a healthcare professional, this period is extra overwhelming. The nature of the job, whether clinical, front or back office, may entail logging long hours and adapting on the fly. A global health crisis has made days even longer, more tedious, and ensuring business continues.
Remember the last, good quality sleep? It may have been some time ago, especially if anxiety issues and depression come into play. The cyclical effect of poor or little sleep creates havoc on a body's system and relationships. So, here are some tips that can help you sleep better during this COVID-19 outbreak so you can function clearly, stay positive, and feel like yourself.
1. Chat with a Therapist
If you feel very anxious or depressed, the first step is to seek professional help. Therapy can be gratifying and provide an objective outlet for fears, coping strategies, and help you work out underlying issues. Thankfully, you can schedule appointments online - or meet in person if there’s a mental health professional at your facility.
2. Schedule Time to Feel Your Worries
Many people try so much not to worry (or have bad feelings), and this is counterproductive. Instead of trying not to worry, set out time daily where you can think observe the negative emotion and get out of your head about everything bothering you. You can carve out 10-15 minutes every day to think about your worries. This way, your brain gets used to bringing up your worries only at the set time. And, setting a schedule can help you feel in control.
3. Schedule Consistent Physical Activity
Exercising gets your heart rate up, tires you out, and make you sleep better. However, anxiety and depression can make you want to avoid physical activity; don’t do that. As the world is maintaining a social distance culture, you can find exercises to do in and around your home or work area. There is a plethora of online free workouts you can do solo or with a group via a video session. Start an activity you will stick with, enjoy, and soon you'll feel the endorphin release, triggering a flood of positive feelings in your body.
4. Maintain Healthy Daily Routines (Emotionally, Physically & Spiritually)
Our bodies love routines. Maintaining a daily routine would help reset your circadian rhythm. As much as possible, depending on your shift, maintain a specific time to go to bed. Also, you can create an unwinding or napping routine for yourself at a particular time of the day, so your brain automatically switches to that once it’s time.
Finally, avoid the urge to be in bed when you are not sleepy. Doing that will confuse your brain and keep you awake even when you intend to sleep. You can concentrate your mind on taking deep breaths, counting as you inhale and exhale; this is relaxing and can help you drift off. Additional strategies include listening to white noise, deep sleep meditation audio tracts, and a cooler room temperature.