Getting the Sleep You Need During COVID-19

May 8, 2020 | Blogs, Sleep

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For many of us, our normal routines have undergone drastic changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that our sleeping habits have probably changed, too. Most of us are experiencing coronavirus-related stress that may play a big part in preventing us from getting the quality or quantity of sleep we need.

While sleep is crucial to staying healthy and focused during ordinary times, it’s even more important now. Getting a good night’s sleep can combat stress, worry, and anxiety related to COVID-19 and help keep the structure we need in our daily patterns. It can also boost the immune system, balance mood, and increase productivity. [1]

If you have had trouble sleeping due to COVID-19 anxiety, you’re not alone. According to an article recently published in the Harvard Gazette, sleep problems are emerging as one of the pandemic’s psychological effects on society. [2] However, a few positive adjustments can put you back on track and help you get the sleep necessary to maintain your physical and mental health.

Keep Your Regular Sleep Schedule

Even if your daily routine has changed, it is important to keep a schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help you continue your regular patterns to help maintain a sense of normalcy. It can also improve the quality of your sleep. [3] Aim for seven to nine hours each night, depending on your needs – and avoid hitting the snooze button even though you’re saving time with no commute.

If you’re working from home, try to resist the temptation to take long naps. Although naps can be refreshing, they can throw off your sleep pattern and make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at the same hour each night.

Focus on Positivity Before Sleeping

With all the COVID-19 news headlines and the uncertainty we face, many of us are suffering from nightmares and disturbing dreams. According to “The Sleep Doctor,” Dr. Michael Brues, thinking positively before bed can improve sleep and create positive dreams. He recommends creating a gratitude list to help focus your thoughts. [4]

Limit Screen Time Before Bed

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, the blue light from computers, smartphones, and tablets may be a contributing factor. According to research, this kind of light can suppress levels of melatonin – the hormone that regulates your sleep. Having access to your device while you’re in bed can also make it tempting to log in to social media and check the news which may contribute to anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares. [5]

In addition, you can take measures during the day if you spend a good deal of time in front of the computer. Dr. Brues recommends wearing blue light glasses to reduce the impact it can have on your sleep.

Don’t Make Your Bed Your Workspace

Your bed should be the place where you can relax. Bringing laptops and smartphones into your bed can cause distractions and turn it into your workplace, rather than your sanctuary. Instead, choose a designated spot to work so that you can reserve your bed for sleep.

Watch What You Consume Close to Bedtime

Stimulants like alcohol and caffeine are detrimental and disruptive to your sleep cycle. Avoid beverages that contain them a few hours before bedtime. Heavy foods before bedtime can also have an impact on how well you sleep. [3] A healthy and balanced diet with lots of fresh greens, fruits, and vegetables is optimal for a good night’s rest.

Use Mindfulness Techniques for Relaxation 

If you’ve noticed that you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try using mindfulness techniques such as meditation and practicing gratitude. Deep breathing exercises, yoga, and other activities that can help you relax can make a huge difference in your sleep patterns and overall well-being as well as alleviate stress and anxiety. [3]

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[1] Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM. April 16, 2020. Why it’s important to get a good night’s sleep during the coronavirus outbreak. At the Forefront: UChicago Medicine. Retrieved from:

[2] Clea Simon. April 16, 2020. Insomnia in a pandemic. The Harvard Gazette. Retrieved from:

[3] No author. No date. Sleep Guidelines During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from:

[4] Why sleep is important in times of crisis. May 1, 2020. Retrieved from:

[5] Claire Gillespie. April 23, 2020. Why Can’t You Sleep During Quarantine? Here’s How Coronavirus Anxiety Is Leading to Insomnia. Retrieved from:

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