Newswise — The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of our lives, including how well we sleep at night. According to a new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), more than one in five Americans (22%) are sleeping worse than before the pandemic, and 19% say they are getting less nightly sleep. Isolation, working from home, a disruption in daily routines and economic worries can all take a toll on our physical and mental health, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
“Factors such as increased stress and anxiety, an uptick in screen time and a lack of exercise can significantly affect the amount and quality of sleep we get,” said AASM President Dr. Kannan Ramar.
According to the same survey, one in five Americans (20%) find it harder to fall asleep at night due to the pandemic. Follow these healthy sleep tips to get a good night’s rest during the pandemic.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule – One of the most important things you can do to get good sleep is to set and keep a consistent sleep schedule. Even if your bedtime or wake time has changed due to the pandemic, try to get at least seven hours of sleep by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends and holidays.
- Create a peaceful sanctuary – Keep the noise and distractions outside to a minimum by making your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool – and only use the bed for sleeping, not watching TV or reading.
- Reduce time with social media or the news – Minimize your exposure to stress-inducing news and social media chatter near bedtime to avoid dwelling on new stressors before sleep.
- Follow a relaxing nightly routine – With all the unrest in the world, it’s essential to schedule at least 30 minutes to unwind before bed. Consider developing a relaxing nightly routine, which may include reading, meditating or taking a warm bath or shower.
- Try journaling before bed – Writing down what’s on your mind can be a great way to bring you calmness and a sense of control. Release worries and stress from the day on paper, so you’re not holding on to unwanted thoughts when you get into bed.
- Limit exposure to light – Due to quarantine, many are experiencing an increase in screen time. Make sure to turn off electronics 30 minutes before bedtime and store them outside your room. This includes digital devices like cell phones, TVs, tablets and computers.
- Limit alcohol, caffeine and large meals before bed – If you must eat something, make it a small snack, and keep drinking to a minimum in the evening.
For a PDF of the AASM's COVID-19 Impact on Sleep survey results, click here.
For more information on the importance of healthy sleep, visit SleepEducation.org.