It is possible that, since the quarantine began, you are noticing that you sleep worse. You find it difficult to fall asleep, you wake up many times, you even start having the odd night of insomnia.
The social situation that we are experiencing right now is affecting our habits and sleep is one of them. The scenario is serious: According to data from the Spanish Neurology Society (SEN), between 25 and 35% of the adult population suffers from temporary insomnia and between 10 and 15%, which represents more than four million Spanish adults , suffers from chronic insomnia.
Transient insomnia is normal. “Right now it costs us more to sleep and it is not just stress and anxiety due to being confined at home,” they explain from the mindfulness app Petit Bambou.
Why can’t you sleep? Explain Pilar Conde, psychologist at Dorsia Clinics, which are several factors, but the most important is not to disconnect the head. “When we get into bed it is the moment when the body is deactivated and the mind regains power, reliving what we have done, remembering what we have to do, as well as all the fears and uncertainties that the current situation may generate for us “
In addition, certain chaos in meal times or the time dedicated to leisure, work or study, as well as the large number of hours that adults and children spend in front of the screens, can affect not only the hours of sleep, but also its quality.
In short, the frenetic pace of life, the lack of control of schedules and routines, stress and anxiety are the main allies of insomnia. We are living all of this in confinement.
When we sleep poorly …
When we sleep poorly, we are more irritable and in a lower mood. Lack of sleep, in addition, affects concentration, learning ability and decreases productivity. When we rest badly, free radicals are generated that cause premature aging, the skin is tired, dull, we have dark circles and red eyes.
On the other hand, not getting enough sleep causes cortisol and stress hormone levels to rise, which can also lead to weight gain. Lastly, a lack of good sleep affects focus and precision. In addition to feeling physical tiredness, it also increases mental fatigue.
If we sleep well …
We wake up refreshed, as the body enters the workshop to repair and restore fissures and wear to leave with enough energy to face a new day. We feel capable of facing this new situation with an open, positive attitude and in a better mood.
Generally speaking, having a good sleep and rest routine can contribute to disease prevention. People who sleep well have less risk of health problems, anxiety and stress. Rest helps to strengthen our immune system and this is our body’s natural defense against viruses and infections.
Lastly, caring for sleep helps you be more productive and efficient during the day. It allows to consolidate selective emotional memory, organize the essential information of the brain and prevent diseases such as being overweight or cardiovascular diseases.
How much should I sleep?
To know how much sleep is needed, the Dr. Kianoush Missaghi, Freeletics Training Experience Manager, recommends to stay for four days waking up without alarm. “In the first two days, sleep as long as you need to erase any lack of sleep. In the last two you will already know how long you sleep naturally, ”he explains.
The recommendation is to sleep 7-9 hours per night and if necessary in a nap where possible. This is not a substitute for a good night’s sleep, but it can help when there is a deficit.
Learn to sleep
If you normally have trouble sleeping, you may have realized that it is not an issue that can be settled overnight. It is an apprenticeship that must be done for a few days, which is learned.
Experts in mindfulness of the Petit Bambou app They explain it this way: “It is not about going to the dream hunt, fighting at all costs to fall asleep, but rather letting go of the mental noise and preparing yourself for a good rest.” Here are some tips to do it:
- Establish sleep patterns. Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day helps the body find a regular rhythm. Once you have established a regular sleep schedule, your body will know that it is time to sleep when you go to bed.
- Light dinner. And a few hours before bed. Having dinner two hours before going to bed allows our body to finish digestion before sleeping and not while we sleep.
- Meditate before sleeping. Meditation is not designed in itself to make you sleep. However, many studies show the impact of regular meditation practice in improving both sleep hours and sleep quality.
- Writes. Before going to bed, spend five minutes writing how the day went, the things that occupy your mind, the emotions you felt and plan what you are going to do the next day. Writing helps to put in order everything that occupies your head and to “dislodge” from your mind everything that you don’t need to sleep.
- Check your habits. They prepare the dream, for example, the practice of yoga or reading. However, others activate our brain and reveal us (blue light or high-intensity sports). It’s better to exercise in the morning than at night because training raises your core body temperature and makes it harder to fall asleep. You have to stop training two or three hours before going to bed for an optimal night’s sleep.
Some healthier habits:
- Respect routines: Getting up at the scheduled time helps us establish schedules, schedule plans and follow a routine. It is essential to carry out certain actions at the same time (work, eat, play sports, sleep, etc.), since they regulate our perception of time and our biological rhythm.
- Exercise: It helps us to activate and tire the body, allowing us to rest better when the night comes. The more exercise you do, the better you sleep. Physical effort drains energy levels, so the body knows that it needs to sleep to recover, that is, it gets tired.
- Gradual disconnection: The two hours before going to sleep is the preparation time that our body takes to be able to fall asleep. Experts advise using this period to relax and unwind. Better television than mobile and better book than television. The light emitted by electronic devices confuses the brain by sending it activation signals, thus preventing the production of melatonin. When the body is too stressed at night, it begins to pump out hormones like adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These hormones increase the heart rate and confuse the body when it is supposed to be asleep.
Gregorio Mora, coach of the HOGO dream, suggests, as a way to better fall asleep, other easy tricks to follow:
TO DRINK: Dispense with alcoholic beverages and do not drink anything with caffeine after 5pm. Avoid alcohol because, although it seems sleepy, a few hours after taking it, it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of times you wake up at night.
SCHEDULE: Maintain a similar schedule daily regarding bedtime. The ideal is to do it between 10pm and 11pm. Set a time to go to bed even on the weekend. Changing bedtime disrupts our biological clock’s ability to regulate a healthy sleep pattern.
THE BEDROOM: It is important to maintain a temperature between 18 and 20 degrees in the room in which you sleep. And recommended, if possible, sleep on natural materials thus avoiding synthetics and petroleum derivatives for better transpiration of our body. We must sleep completely in the dark for melatonin segregation to be complete. In addition, in case we wake up at midnight, it is advisable not to turn on strong lights so as not to interrupt the production of melatonin.
Once again, the breath
If you have trouble sleeping, practice conscious breathing. “With it we will achieve stillness in our body and in our mind, relieving the stress and anxiety of the day, and it will help us prepare to achieve a repaired and comforting sleep,” he says. Isabel Manso, yoga teacher at the Barceló Portinatx hotel.