When you are worried or stressed, sleep is one of the first ways your body reacts. You can struggle to fall asleep, can wake repeatedly during the night, or lie awake for hours unable to switch off.
Good sleepers often have a strict routine when it comes to bedtime and waking times, but many people have found this is hard to implement during the pandemic whilst trying to fit in things like working from home and home-schooling. Many people, and particularly parents, are feeling exhausted from juggling work commitments whilst trying to teach children or keep them entertained, as well as having to cook and clean more often than normal.
Here are some of Soak&Sleep's tips to help parents sleep better during the pandemic:
Exercise is a great way to help you sleep better. It can tire you out physically but also helps you switch off mentally. Some people are finding it difficult to exercise during the lockdown but even 20 minutes a day is beneficial and there are lots of free apps and online videos to give you ideas for exercising in your home or garden if you have one. And if you can persuade your children to join in, even better. It will also help them sleep better and burn off some of their excess energy!
Limit screen time
If possible try to stay off your screen for an hour before bedtime. This can be difficult if you are working from home and having to juggle working hours around things like home school. But set yourself a time limit so you work as efficiently as possible and then switch off when your time is up. You can't work if you are tired so it's better to do less one evening and get a good night's sleep than work late and be totally ineffective the following day.
Implement a good bedtime routine
Use the hour before bed to give yourself some 'me time' to help you unwind. It's likely that you've spent all day looking after everybody else in your household, cooking and cleaning more often than normal, so treat yourself to a bath, home facial or some meditation. There are lots of ideas for home beauty treatments online which are inexpensive and use items you can find in your kitchen cupboards and many of the meditation apps are giving free sessions during this period.
Keep your bedroom dark
With the pandemic lasting so long, we are now into British Summer Time with the extended days keeping bedrooms lighter for longer. Make sure when you do go to bed, your room is as dark as possible and if you can, wear an eye mask.
Limit drinking alcohol
Tempting as it is to have a large glass of wine or several gin and tonics every night after another exhausting day, alcohol can affect sleep patterns. You may fall asleep quicker but you are likely to wake in the night feeling dehydrated or needing the loo. Try to limit your alcohol intake and avoid slipping into heavier drinking habits than you are used to.
Encourage your children to help out around the house. They need to fill their days and this is a great way for them to learn life skills like keeping their rooms tidy and putting things where they can find them again that will stand them in good stead for the future. Any help you can get will relieve some of the pressure on you which will leave you with more time to unwind and relax.
Lastly, go easy on yourself and try not to live to the same standards you would if you were able to leave the house. Nobody needs ironed clothes, it's acceptable for your children to watch more television than normal at this time and the cleaning can take a back seat as you're not expecting visitors. These are unprecedented times and everybody is finding their own way, so give yourself a break. Your sleep will benefit as a result and you'll consequently be a more effective, efficient parent the following day.