The increase in sleep disorders is one of the most widespread consequences of the current pandemic of covid-19, which, already before the health crisis, was a frequent problem among the Spanish population. Indeed, in 2018, according to the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), between 20% and 48% of the adult population of our country suffered from difficulties in starting or maintaining sleep.
“Stress, worry, anxiety and depression are factors involved in insomnia because sleep is very sensitive to physical, mental and even environmental conditions. For this reason, this period in which feelings such as fear of contagion, economic uncertainty and worry about restrictions predominate, has had a negative impact on the quality of our rest, ”says Dr Julio. Maset, Cinfa doctor.
In addition, “with the emotional alterations from day to day, which appear at bedtime, the changes experienced in recent months, with new routines, telework, less physical activity, greater social isolation, more connection to devices Cell phones and an increased mental load interfere with our adequate rest. Therefore, it can be harder for us to fall asleep, it can be lighter and we wake up more often during the night or we feel more drowsy or tired throughout the day, ”he adds.
Sleep is a biological need of the body that allows essential physical and psychological functions to be restored during the night to fully enjoy well-being the next day. Consequently, not resting enough hours or not doing it in good conditions has many consequences: fatigue, failures in memory and reasoning, bad mood, irritability, anxiety, reduced performance at work or at work. school … Sleep deprivation It can even increase the risk of road accidents, domestic and professional.
Avoid poor sleep hygiene habits
To avoid sleep disturbances, the doctor says, “There are factors we cannot control, especially those on a global scale like those that triggered the current pandemic, but we can focus on those related to the disease. sleep hygiene that depend on us. and this can contribute significantly to improving its durability and quality ”.
Thus, expert Cinfa recalls that “integrating a few simple rules into our daily routine will help us to start and maintain a restful night’s rest without interruption. For example, it is important to take care of the temperature, noise and light in our room, as well as to respect the regular times for going to bed and getting up, replacing large dinners with lighter ones and avoiding use electronic devices before going to sleep “.
Ten tips to help you fall asleep during COVID-19:
Establish a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, avoiding staying in bed outside of sleep. And try to go to bed as soon as you are sleepy, instead of falling asleep while watching TV in the living room, as it is harder to fall back to sleep in bed. Adjust your room and your bed. Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, well ventilated, and at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. Try to avoid sound stimuli which can interrupt the continuity of sleep, turn off or silence the cell phone, or prevent it from suddenly lighting up at night. Regarding the bed, it is better that your mattress is neither too soft nor too hard and that the pillow adapts to your preferences. Eat a healthy diet on a regular schedule. Despite teleworking or being locked up, he continues to distribute meals five times a day and at the same time as always. Above all, do not eat or drink large amounts during the three hours before bedtime, as large meals cause strong digestion which interferes with sleep. Likewise, reduce the consumption of alcoholic drinks or stimulating substances like coffee or chocolate, which can alter the structure of sleep and reduce its quality, and avoid snacking in the afternoon. If you smoke, try to quit. Make a routine for your activities. If we come to a lock-in situation similar to that of March and April, it would mean readjusting to weeks without regular work or class hours or with electronic means of working or going to class. In view of this, as well as the limitations for going out, it is important to organize the whole family day and set a time for work and another for playing with the children or for social time. Ending the routine of work or study with a walk, even a short one, to return home for leisure and family time is a good way to disconnect. Get physical exercise. Be active by exercising at home or, if possible, outdoors, for about 30 to 45 minutes each day. But remember that it is not advisable to do physical activity 2-3 hours before going to bed, due to its arousing effect. Look for sunlight. If you are at home, try to spend the morning doing something by a window, and if you can go out, take advantage of the morning hours or those when it is not yet dark. Avoid long naps during the day. Short naps have been proven to have cardiovascular and mental benefits, but they shouldn’t be prolonged to make it easier for you to sleep at night. If you need it, it is better if it is immediately after eating and not more than 20 to 30 minutes, and that the interval between the end of the nap and the moment you fall asleep at night is at least seven hours. Dose the information you eat and use of electronic devices before going to bed. Reading or watching the information about the pandemic situation before going to bed can increase your worry and prevent you from falling asleep. Therefore, it is best to limit these stimuli in the hours before sleep. Likewise, it is very important to avoid blue light from the screens of any device before going to sleep or, worse, already in bed. Instead, try a relaxing ritual, such as reading, playing music, or taking a shower. Consult the pharmacist on the possibility of using nutritional solutions. If you have trouble sleeping, dietary supplements may be a natural option in some cases: intakes of melatonin help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and valerian helps maintain and improve sleep quality. See your doctor if the lack of sleep persists. If taking these steps does not improve your rest, or if you think the insomnia is going on too long or starting to cause more problems, see your doctor so that he can assess the convenience of possible treatment. medicated. But remember that tranquilizers and sleeping pills are drugs that require a prescription. Never use them without the necessary supervision, as they may not be recommended for you.