Getting a Good Night’s Sleep When You’re Fearing COVID-19
COVID-19 is taking over the news, and it shows no signs of stopping. For those who are already having sleep problems, or even someone who is normally a good sleeper, fears of the virus can keep you up at night, literally.
As you probably know, sleep deprivation is not good for you. It can make your immunity worse, which can be detrimental for you if you do get the virus. It can cause other health effects as well, and keep you from focusing.
However, no matter how much you try to go to sleep, thoughts about this virus could keep you up. You may worry if you’ll get it, or if a loved one, especially one who is older, will get it. You may turn to your phone and keep yourself updated, but this will keep you up even longer.
Want to get a better night’s sleep? Here’s how.
Have a Cut-Off Time for Reading News
One problem we all have is that we look at the news too much. Every update, every stat, every response politicians have to it, it’s almost addictive. It’s important that you stay updated, but also make sure that you’re doing it in a reasonable manner. For example, you should have time to read the news. Perhaps you could go back to tradition and read it during the morning. Or, during the afternoon.
However, you should avoid reading the news before bed. You don’t want the last thing on your mind to be a story about an outbreak in your local area, or another story that makes you afraid.
Get Some Exercise In
Many gyms are closing due to the outbreak, and because of this, you may not be able to work out as much anymore. However, you should make strides to work out as much as you can. One way you can do this is by doing some home exercises or ordering weights to use. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete or anything, but by getting some decent exercise, you can sleep better at night.
That’s right. Working out has been related to getting a better night’s rest. Even if you feel tired, going on a walk in an empty area, or doing some crunches at home can help.
Chances are, your thoughts are filled with worries. Or, you may be focused on helping others so much that you ignore helping yourself. No matter what your circumstances are, your brain is filled with thoughts about this crisis. Before bed, have some controlled breathing. Take some deep breaths and focus on them. If there are any intrusive thoughts, ignore them to the best of your ability. You don’t have to worry about them right now. Just let everything go.
Have Relaxing Hobbies
Before bed, do something that makes you feel relaxed. For example, you may turn to reading a good book before bed, working on crafting, or cleaning up the house a little bit. Anything that helps you to unwind is always ideal.
Take a Hot Shower
A warm or hot shower can relax the body, making it easier for you to go to bed at night. As you take a shower, you can double its benefits by mindfully breathing or doing another form of meditation.
If you prefer baths, that’s fine, too. A hot bath can help you unwind just as well. Put some bath salts or other additives to enhance the experience even more.
Can’t Sleep? Get Out of Bed!
If you’re unable to fall asleep, don’t spend your time in bed tossing and turning. Get out and do something that’s relaxing. For example, read a book, or listen to some soft music. Speaking of music…
Many people find that white noise or ambient sounds helps them fall asleep. For example, you can listen to rain sounds while you fall asleep. A fan is also a classic way to get some rest, too. Ambient sounds will allow you to focus on something as you go to bed, distracting you from your intrusive thoughts.
Live in the Present
Mindfulness is always healthy for you, especially during this time. Right now, the future is frightening, so live in the present. Through meditation and increased awareness of your surroundings, you can be able to achieve mindfulness and live in the moment.
Reduce Your Social Media Use
Besides news, another reason why you may be unable to sleep is social media. From always checking to see what’s going on to you unable to keep your hands off the latest conspiracy or fear mongering post, we believe that it’s time for you to cut your social media use. This doesn’t mean you can’t use social media at all, but instead you should curate it a little more. Unfollow some people who are causing you grief. Have certain times to look at it, and when you aren’t, try to spend your time doing something else.
Drink Some Herbal Teas
Another way you can unwind is to drink some herbal teas before bed. Black or green tea contains caffeine, which is a no-go if you want to sleep, but herbal teas such as chamomile can help you to relax and unwind after a long day.
Talk to a Therapist
If all else fails, you may need some professional help. A doctor could prescribe medications to help you fall asleep, but usually, it’s a case of relieving the symptoms and not going after the cause. If you’re unable to put your worries aside, a therapist can help you do so.
However, visiting a therapist in-person may not be something you want to do right now. That’s where online therapy comes in. An online therapy service such as BetterHelp helps with no-contact therapy and giving you the best available care at the moment. By talking to a therapist, you can learn ways to relax and deal with your intrusive thoughts. Here’s hoping you can sleep much better.
AUTHOR: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.