4 Tips To Help You Snooze If Staying At Home Is Messing With Your Sleep
Many people in the population have been sheltering-in-place for over a month now. If you fall into that group, you may have started to adjust to this new stay at-home-lifestyle: You've set up a space to work remotely, established some new favorite at-home workouts, and whipped up a number of healthy meals. But despite your efforts to adapt to a new normal, when you crawl into bed at night...it's impossible to fall asleep. What gives?
For starters, you're certainly not alone in this sleep struggle. Staying at home may blur the line between being active and resting, which can result in a wonky sleep schedule. That said, now more than ever, we need to prioritize sleep to support our immunity.
It's not news that sleep is an important part of supporting our body's proper function, but sleep washes the brain and regulates hormones. According to Eva Selhub, M.D., "When sleep-deprived, the body's hormone system is off."
She recommends "taking your time, being mindful and more nurturing toward yourself." If you find yourself, and your sleep pattern, struggling to adjust to your new routine, there are some things you can do to counter the more negative impacts of a forming sleep debt:
Since you may be finding that part of the problem is you're simply not as tired as you are with your normal routine, a nap probably isn't in the cards to recoup lost sleep. But a meditation can help you get some of the benefits of a bit more sleep. "Find 20 minutes to do a meditation (even 10 minutes will help)," said Selhub, "to give the body and mind a chance to rest and recuperate and be better able to handle stress." You may also sleep sounder after a bedtime meditation.
Consider a sleep-supporting supplement.
Supplementing with magnesium can help support you in falling asleep and staying asleep, as low levels of magnesium have been linked to decreased melatonin1 production—which is one of the most important hormones for sleep.*
mbg's sleep support+ supplement also features jujube, which is a fruit used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for calming, and might help quiet all those overactive bedtime thoughts.* In addition to helping you get to sleep, this formula features PharmaGABA, which is a neurotransmitter tied to natural sleep quality.*
Honor your commute.
Those extra minutes you've gained that you used to spend traveling to and from the office may feel like an invitation to hit snooze, but the extra time in bed will affect your sleep schedule overall. Instead, consider using the time to pick up your usual ride-to-work hobby.
As always, be mindful of screentime.
In this time of social distancing, we're probably all spending more time on our screens. But the old rules still apply: Turn off the screens at least an hour before bed. "Staring at the screen, even when it's on night-shift mode, is like taking a shot of espresso in that it cues your brain for wakefulness," explained Vora. It's another great time to take out a book, flip on that playlist, and tune out the world.
If you find your sleep troubles may be related to COVID-induced anxiety, we spoke to Ellen Vora, M.D., again on the mindbodygreen podcast about how you can manage those feelings. Now is also a great time to start working on a mindfulness practice (or two), and a mindfulness teacher recently shared her favorite ways to cultivate calm at home with us.
Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.