New York: It’s normal to experience anxiety and sleep problems in the middle of coronavirus pandemic as our brains respond to “dangers” by increasing vigilance and attention. However, a sound sleep is vital for boosting the immune system.
A little care in planning daily routines will go a long way in having proper sleep in even in these uncertain times. An article titled ‘Strategies to promote better sleep’ published in the Health blog of the Harvard University provides ‘Daytime’ and ‘Nighttime’ practices to cultivate healthy sleep-:
Day time tips
· Keep a consistent routine such as a regular wake time, regular schedules for meals, exercises and other activities.
· Get morning light. Light is the main controller of the natural body clock, and regular exposure to light in the morning helps to set the body’s clock each day.
· Exercise during the day helps improve your sleep quality at night besides reducing stress.
· Try not to spend too much time in the bed during the day though majority are confined to their houses to contain the virus spread. If you must take a nap, try to keep it short, less than 30 minutes.
· Avoid caffeine late in the day.
· Help others in whatever little way one can as indulging in altruistic acts may provide a sense of purpose and reduce anxiety and negative thoughts.
Night time tips
· Avoid news and all electronics at least one hour before bedtime. Similarly, cellphones, tablets and all electronic devices make it harder for your brain to turn off and the light from the devices may delay the release of hormone melatonin, interfering with the body clock.
· Minimize alcohol intake
· Set a regular bedtime
· Reduce stress, especially in the evening and bedtime hours through techniques such as yoga or slow breathing.
· Create a comfortable environment, a place that is cool, quiet and dark.
Despite following the guidelines, if one experiences sleeplessness, the chances of him/her having a clinical sleep problem such as insomnia or sleep apnea are bright, requiring expert medical advice.