COVID-19 Health Awareness: Tips For Getting Good Sleep

Now more than ever, we need good and relaxing sleep. Sleep can help our overall immune system function at its best. It can help us think clearly and solve problems better. It is vital to understand that an adequate amount of sleep aids in our mental health, which is essential in fighting the uncertainties of the pandemic. Sleep is tied with our immune system, so when we get less of it, we become prone to sickness and infections. Gladly, there are tips for getting good sleep. So without further ado, here is the list.

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Establish A Connection Between Sleep And The Bed

Home quarantine experience can make us feel bored and unmotivated. At times, we want to find solace in a place where we feel secure. That is why we often choose to stay in our bedroom to keep ourselves company. However, for us to get a good night’s sleep, we need to establish a connection between our bed and sleep. Thus, we should never eat, work, relax, or pretty much do anything in it. We need to understand that our bed only serves the purpose of sleeping. And for times that we lay in bed and still can’t sleep, we need to get out of bed and do something that can make us fall asleep.

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Set A Schedule And Following A Routine

Having a fixed wakeup time each day is an essential part of the schedule. But of course, a bedtime routine should be associated with that. Thus, waking up early but going to bed late is not advisable. There are no benefits. So, we should spend a couple of hours doing bedtime routines such as brushing our teeth, changing into our pajamas, and arranging our beds. And if we find it difficult to sleep due to stress, we can try keeping our body lying in bed while the lights are off. We can also practice breathing exercises and meditation to calm both our mind and body so they can prepare to sleep.

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Keep Technological Devices Out Of Reach

There should be a wind-down moment without using technology if we want to get a good sleep. The problem with most people is that they use their smartphones before bedtime because they believe that it can make them fall asleep faster. But contrary to that, the device emits a blue light, which is similar to the sun’s light that stimulates the brain to think it is still day time. The light suppresses the release of melatonin, which supposed to help us get a good night’s sleep. So to avoid sleep disruption, we need to keep away our devices and turn off the notifications.

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Avoid Napping During Day Time

Nap is essential because it helps our mind and body rejuvenate. However, if we do it often in a day, it can disrupt our 24-hour sleep cycle requirement. To avoid that, we have to do it early in a day with no more than 20 to 30 minutes. Arguably, some of us might excuse themselves with boredom due to home quarantine. To address that situation, we need to be physically active to avoid thinking that our body is tired and requires a nap. Also, we need to note that our bed is not the right place for a nap as it can confuse the brain and body in distinguishing it with sleep.

 

We can all understand the difficulty of the situation due to COVID-19. We are all under stress. But regardless of what is happening with things around us, we need to take care of ourselves. With that, we should never underestimate the health significance of sleep.

When The Pain Just Won’t Stop

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As a student in the medical field, I was privileged to be able to attend the 2019 Headache Conference. I learned a lot about different causes and effects of having a headache. We may think that headaches are normal, especially if we are stressed. Still, we should also not forget to consult a doctor to make sure that we are diagnosed well and can be treated immediately to avoid further complications in the future.

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Sleeping Problems Due To Pandemic Stress

Understandably, the world is dealing with the domino effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are shutting down, not getting enough food, and being restricted in doing what we want, etc. These are all contributors to anxiety that causes sleep problems. Over the past few weeks after the issue of Coronavirus hit a global crisis, we become aware of the problems of not getting enough sleep. Honestly, it is a serious issue because the damages are inevitable. Not getting enough amount of sleep can lead to many health complications, such as physical, mental, and emotional ones.

Since there are a lot of things going on around us this pandemic time, we can’t help ourselves from overthinking. It is not easy to shrug thoughts because it somehow lingers every time we experience something challenging and uncomfortable. Thus, we get to be prone to sleep-related issues. And since we understand that the common cause of this sleep disorder is stress and anxiety, we must find solutions to do something about it. Yes, we must do our best to eliminate the factors that cause mental instability, even if there is too much uncertainty about the pandemic situation.

What Can We Do To Address Sleeping Problems?

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Some medications might help ease sleep disorders. However, we need to make sure that we get a consultation first before purchasing anything in the drugstore. We also need to consider the possibility of getting caught up with its use. That is if we depend too much on these drugs because it can also lead to severe health complications. In some unfortunate instances, taking too much of it can impact our daily routines as well. With that, experts suggest that we should consider taking self-improvement remedies or seek professional help first before trying to pop some pills.

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One of the best pieces of advice that we need to take a moment to understand is the changes in our routines. It is essential to make our activities scheduled as much as possible. That is if we are going from one task to another. For us to secure a better sleep at night, we have to ensure that we limit the things we do in the day so that we don’t need to worry about a pile of unfinished tasks at night. Thus, we can count the accomplishments throughout the day, and that helps in providing us a better sleep.

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Another thing that might help is the habit of exercising a few hours before going to bed. No, we do not need to do a full course of workouts. Just a couple of stretching and light to medium exercises will do. It is also important to expose ourselves to light more frequently. Since most of the time, we have to stay indoors, we need to find a way to get ourselves a good source of lighting. It will not only help our immune system, but it will also allow the brain to signal a waking time.

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Being home quarantined, sleeping in time is necessary. Therefore, we must avoid alcohol, caffeine, or heavy meals before going to bed. These factors disrupt the body’s ability to recognize sleep. It hinders us from going to bed at the same time every night because the body gets confused about what it needs to do at that particular moment. With that, it would be beneficial if we do some unwinding stuff hours before going to bed instead of eating and drinking. We can listen to music, read a book, meditate, or even practice breathing exercises.

The pandemic situation until now is uncertain. But hopefully, we can all get through this together.

How Insomnia Can Destroy Your Body

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The 2017 Scottsdale Conference talked about many things, and one of those is the benefits of sleep, and another is how insomnia will affect one’s health. I was lucky to be part of the conference because of my sister. She needed to tag me along that time, and it was a very productive two days for me. Of course, I also wanted to see the beauty of Scottsdale, and yet the highlight of that short visit was the discussion.

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Top 7 Benefits Of Sleep

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We all know that getting enough sleep is good for our body. It keeps us alive and energetic for the entire day. When this happens, there is a high tendency that we would accomplish more As long as we get enough sleep for the night, then it is guaranteed that we are going to become productive for the next day. Well, the best part of all is that this is only one of the hundreds of benefits of sleep. Here is the list:

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Why You Should Work Harder Than Ever To Beat Insomnia

 

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Perhaps there are mornings when you wake up very early, unable to return to sleep—or you wake up feeling exhausted before you’ve even started your day. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.

Insomnia is a stressful health condition that prevents individuals from sleeping whenever they need and want. Some consult their physician in hopes of finding a remedy for it, i.e., pills and cognitive therapy. Despite that, it’s a fact that many still don’t see it as a disorder that requires immediate medical attention; that’s why they tend to brush it off.

But that’s where everything can start to go wrong. Sleep deprivation does so much harm to your body, to the point that you can no longer function like a regular human being. In case the disadvantages of letting your insomnia prolong is still hazy, here are a few ideas that may clarify them for you:

 

 

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  1. It Decreases Sex Drive

The condition is a libido-drainer, especially for men. It can slow down the body’s production of testosterone; thus, the sexual drive can become unstable. Not to mention, the sleep irregularity also depletes your vigor – you may prefer relaxation over sex anytime.

  1. It Makes You Absent-Minded

Insomnia deprives you of your capability to remember details and events. Isn’t it embarrassing when your date or boss asks your opinion about a serious topic, and then all you can muster to say is, “Huh?” That may be the regular case if you’re not sleeping as much as you should.

People with insomnia tend to unknowingly over estimate the time it takes to fall asleep and underestimate the time they are asleep. — John Cline Ph.D.

  1. It Causes Mishaps

People who often lack sleep feel extra clumsy the next day since the coordination between the motor skills and the brain is off. It may feel as if you’re drunk as well even though you’re not. Hence, accidents, big or small, will surely follow you.

  1. It Drains Youthful Glow

Insomnia can make a 25-year-old man or woman look like he or she is their mid-30s. The skin under the eyes become either puffy or dark. The fine lines seem prominent too. That’s because you produce much more cortisol – the hormone that crushes your collagen supply – than you need at this point.

  1. It Increases Weight

Dealing with sleep deprivation can be so grueling that your brain may signal that you should consume larger serving sizes than usual. It is as if it’s your system’s technique to console you for not receiving reset. Because of that, however, your waistline may expand in no time.

  1. It Affects Intelligence

Lack of relaxation at night does not just turn you into a sluggish zombie in the morning. You may also lose concentration and ability to resolve issues both at home and work. The more it happens, the more you can stray away from logic.

  1. It Weakens Immune System

A bountiful sleep gives your body the opportunity to refresh its supply of cytokine, which is the body’s first line of defense against disease-causing viruses. Not getting enough of it every day means you won’t get much of this important substance and may jeopardize your well-being.

 

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  1. It Causes Mental Illnesses

When your mind does not rest, you tend to overthink about a lot of things. It exhausts your energy, happiness, and sometimes grip on reality; that’s why sleep deprivation can push the development of depression, anxiety, delusion, and other psychological disorders.

Figure out through trial and error what your optimal amount of sleep seems to be, then strive to get this amount of sleep every night by adjusting your going-to-bed and wake-up times accordingly. — Megan MacCutcheon, LPC

Momsomniac: New Mothers Struggling To Sleep

Most new mothers desperately want to sleep but are unable to even after putting their baby to sleep.  It happens because of a condition called postpartum insomnia.

Countless adults in the United States suffer from insomnia, the maddening inability to sleep when given the opportunity. — Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D.

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Fighting Insomnia Through Massage And Sleep Enhancers

It was just so frustrating that I was on my bed, wide awake, and just watching our wall clock count the hours.  That was how elusive a good night’s sleep was for me before my husband and I tried massage therapy to enhance sleep.  

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If ever I would be able to sleep early, just a slight movement by my husband would cause me to stay awake up to the wee hours of the morning.  Knowing that I will start another day again without enough sleep and will have to take care of the kids, I would feel more stressed. Moreover, because the issue of sleep has put a strain on our relationship, we tried sleep counseling.  

One way of thinking about insomnia is to consider whether the insomnia is a symptom associated with other problems or is a disorder that stands on its own. — John Cline Ph.D.

The therapist offered support and coping solutions for our long-term sleep problem. 

Keeping a sleep diary in order to keep track of your sleep enables you to be aware of your sleep habits and tendencies that help you sleep or what keeps you awake, and see if they can be improved.   

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Sleep restriction therapy is the practice of limiting the time you spend in bed to your actual sleeping time.  It aims to increase the depth of your sleep.  

 

Stimulus control instructions aim to help you fall asleep swiftly and to maintain sleep.  

Nobody likes to miss out on sleep, so you do the reasonable thing the next day and sleep in an hour or two later. Or maybe you take a nap in the afternoon. — Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D.

Sleep hygiene awareness includes limiting your daytime naps to 30 minutes to improve your mood, alertness, and performance.   Caffeine and nicotine can deprive you of your sleep, and avoiding them before bedtime is a great help. Doing 10 minutes of aerobic, walking or cycling exercise can also help you have a good night’s sleep, but you should avoid strenuous workouts when close to bedtime.   Certain foods may trigger indigestion, so you should also avoid them when close to bedtime. Furthermore, you can try using a dim light in your room to promote sleep. A pleasant sleeping environment can induce sleep, and maintaining a tidy bedroom without TV or gadgets that may keep you awake can help you get better sleep. 

 

Meditation can also help you attain good quality sleep.   There are apps now available, so sleep meditation is made easy and accessible.  

 

However, what really helped me fight my insomnia is through massage and natural sleep enhancers.  I am not quite a fan of pills, and I do not want to rely on prescription medications.  But I found some sleep enhancers that are very effective.  

The body is a miraculous manifestation that gives us direct access to unknown parts of ourselves. The body revealed by posture, muscle contraction, and flexibility demonstrates the sort of armor we use to protect ourselves in a sometimes difficult world. — Stephen L. Salter, PsyD

My husband and I attended massage therapy and saw how massage works as a treatment for insomnia.  Research has proven that regular insomnia massage therapy is useful not only in reducing pain and anxiety but also in increasing relaxation that helps restore the body’s sleep pattern.  

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Massage increases the release of serotonin, enhances positive mood, and creates calming and soothing effects causing you to fall asleep.  My husband patiently and lovingly massages me using some essential oils which efficiently improves my sleep. He uses a lavender scent hydrating body and massage oils, and he never fails me.   

 

No more middle of the night awakening for me and he can move around without waking me up.  

 

Having trouble sleeping is really frustrating and debilitating.  Unhealthy sleep habits or psychiatric and medical conditions can sometimes be the cause of insomnia.  In our case, I think a combination of both is the reason for it. Being a parent is really stressing, and we often worry about finances and other problems concerning the kids, work, and other stuff.  Moreover, we both know that if our unhealthy sleep is left untreated, it will someday cost us our physical health.  

 

A good night’s sleep is crucial for our mental and physical health, and we need to address the issue of insomnia seriously.   Talk to a sleep therapist or mental health professional to help you find the culprit behind those sleepless nights and choose solutions that will work best for you.  

 

Shift Work: Threat To A Healthy Body And Mind

As a single mother of two, I have chosen to work as a home-based medical transcriptionist.  I have been in this kind of job for 17 years now, working in rotational shifts.

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While being awake at night is a very unpleasant and difficult experience, it is the daytime symptoms which most impact on the lives of those suffering with insomnia. — John Cline Ph.D.

I have been happy and thankful for this job as it allowed me to work from home and be a hands-on mom, taking care of my kids’ needs and mine as well.  At first, I found it hard to stay awake eight hours straight during nighttime, but as time went by, I got used to it.   I can even work two shifts straight.   I never realized that it could in the long term be a threat to having a healthy body and mind.

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What Is Blue Light And Why Is It Negatively Affecting Your Good Night’s Sleep? 

Our ancestors used to rely on the sun on lighting and mostly spent their evenings in darkness.  Modern age brings about the discovery of artificial light that provides us with better lighting especially during the night.   

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