The coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on our mental health, with many Brits suffering from anxiety and sleepless nights.
We’re expending less energy because of lockdown. However, we’re feeling more tired than usual – yet unable to get a good night’s sleep.
Why? Well, your anxiety is more than likely to blame.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come and entirely natural given the circumstances.
Anxiety causes sleeping problems, but it’s also a bit of a vicious circle because research suggests sleep deprivation can also cause an anxiety disorder.
She works as an NHS doctor.
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She said: “My sleep has been terrible, but I’ve been doing mindfulness exercises on my phone and that’s really great.”
My sleep has been terrible, but I’ve been doing mindfulness exercises on my phone and that’s really great.
Emily added: “There is a certain degree of anxiety at times because it’s [coronavirus] such an unknown situation.”
So what can you do to prevent an anxiety attack during the pandemic and ensure you get a good night’s sleep?
These helpful tip will hopefully offer some respite.
We all know the benefits of exercise, but during lockdown you may need to be a little creative with how and where you exercise.
During your daily outdoor exercise hour, get some fresh air on a run. Or follow something like the online Joe Wicks workouts from the safety of your own home.
Exercise has been found to both lower anxiety and improve sleep. But try not to exercise right before sleep, as it can keep you awake.
Controlling light, sound and temperature can all help you to get a good night’s rest.
Research suggest that the darker, quieter and cooler you can keep your bedroom, the greater chance you have of calming your mind and falling asleep.
A warm milky drink and a relaxing bath before bed can also help ease body and mind.
Download Headspace or Calm – both apps offer lots of online tools aimed at reducing anxiety.
On Calm, we particularly like the sleep stories section.
Stars such as Matthew McConaughey, Joanna Lumley and Leona Lewis gently take your mind to another place and lull you to sleep with a special sleep story.
We guarantee you’ll be asleep way before the end of the 30-minute story.
While many consider alcohol to be a relaxant, consuming it close to bedtime can increase your heart rate and stop you from sleeping.
Likewise, caffeine. Avoid drinking it too late in the day as it can increase anxiety and inhibit sleep.
And, while we know drinking water is super-important, try not to late in the day.
Drinking lots of water before bedtime means you’ll be waking up for the loo and anxiety could play a part when you’re trying to get back to sleep.
Anxiety isn’t just a battle we face at night, for some it’s there all the time, and there are things you can do during the day to help calm your mind.
Try mindfulness meditation, yoga or breathing exercises regularly and it’ll help to improve your sleep because it relaxes the mind.
If you get used to using these tricks during the day, it’ll be easier for your brain to trigger its relaxation response at night.
Limit screen time, especially before bed, and you’ll see an immediate reduction in anxiety-induced insomnia.
Your phone, tablet and TV emit light that keeps your brain awake, so try to limit them an hour before bedtime.
Likewise, stay away from any stressful work emails before bed as they can trigger anxious thoughts and stop you from sleeping.
If you’re suffering from insomnia you’re probably feeling tempted to nap during the day.
Try to stick to a routine and plan activities to keep your mind busy throughout the day.
And, as far as is possible, try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day. This will help your body learn to sleep better.
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