Sleep & Well-Being Tips in Lockdown

Sleep is so important, especially at the moment, with our current pandemic and lockdown. To help improve your sleep hygiene and overall well-being, we thought we would share some practical recommendations to help during the day, especially if you’re working from home and looking to enhance your sleep at night.

Our recent ‘Sealy Sleep Census’ uncovered that almost half of our population created new sleep habits during the first nationwide lockdown – and not all of them were good for our health and well-being.

An increase in sleep difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to a new term, coined ‘coronasomnia’. Research shows that lockdown increases screen usage, and also anxiety whilst trying to juggle many activities, like working and home-schooling.  This stress sometimes leading to difficulties in relaxing and falling asleep at night. Nearly 80% of those surveyed in our ‘Sealy Sleep Census’ reported their mental health and general functionality was impacted if they did not get enough sleep, leading to brain fog, irritability and a lack of energy.

But we all know how much our mood and health improves when we do get a good night’s sleep – our emotions are more stable, and our creativity and focus are sharper.

So how can we achieve this much-needed quality sleep when lockdown brings so many added pressures?

The good news is there are plenty of ways we can help ensure good sleep – and it starts as soon as you wake up in the morning. As tempting as it is too sleep-in through lockdown, our natural circadian rhythm benefits from consistent sleep and wake-up times across the whole week. So, we recommend making a dedicated effort to try go to sleep and wake-up at the same time each day.

Setting the alarm clock a little earlier, so you can start your day more slowly and mindfully, can also have benefits when it comes to keeping stress levels low. Avoid picking up your phone when you wake and instead try some slow, deep breathing before getting up and open the curtains for a boost of daylight. Your stress levels can also benefit from a little exercise before getting the rest of your day underway.

Although it can be difficult to manage stress levels during lockdown with work or home schooling, you can try a few things to minimise the pressure and consequently make it easier to fall asleep at the end of the day.

Firstly, get in the head space for work by dressing for success – as tempting as it is to stay in the PJs and dressing gown all day, acting as if you’re heading to the office will help keep you productive and can help break up the day.   

Set aside allocated times to take breaks throughout your working or home-schooling day – whether it’s a 15-minute walk around the block or grabbing a cup of tea and sitting outside, it all helps. You could even try a 20-minute power nap! Make sure you’re providing your body with nutritious meals and staying hydrated. Hydration and quality food are essential for boosting brain power and improving sleep.  

Be sure to set some boundaries for when work stops for the day, so you’re not tempted to work around the clock. If you’re able to keep your laptop out of the bedroom, even better.

Once you have navigated another day of lockdown, it is helpful to introduce some night-time rituals to help you to fall asleep faster.

After looking at screens during the day, you can try implementing a cut-off time for them at night. Aim for switching these off at least 60-90 minutes before bedtime. You might even want to switch your phone to ‘airplane mode’ so you’re not distracted by work or social media notifications (and don’t worry – the alarm still works in airplane mode!)

You can try other avenues to help you create calm at the end of the day, too. A warm bath or shower will help you relax. You might want to try reading or enjoying a cup of caffeine-free tea.

Your sleep and your general well-being will also benefit from practising mindfulness before bed. This is especially useful in those moments of anxiety, that we may experience during lock-down. Meditation teacher Meegan Care has previously shared some simple tools for helping to relax the mind before sleep, including 3-4-5 breath practice and breath awareness meditation.

Where we sleep makes a big difference to our quality of rest. Ideally, you want a cool, dark bedroom and a quality bed that offers the correct level of comfort and support. Our Bed Selector Tool can help you choose the best mattress for your sleep style, try this and find the recommended product for you to try in-store when lockdown ends.

Whatever you decide to do to improve your sleep through these anxious times, make sure it’s a balanced approach. Stressing out over not achieving new sleep habits could make slumber harder to come by – so be kind to yourself and remember small changes can make a big difference to your overall health and well-being.

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