CATCHING SOME ZZZZ DURING LOCKDOWN
Many believe that it’s okay to change your sleeping routine during lockdown – you’re working from home right? That means it’s okay to binge watch box sets or take couch potato syndrome to a whole new level. Our fitness fundi, Cindy Bottomley, shares some important thoughts on resting well during downtime and tells us how to improve our sleep.
If you’re finding yourself tossing and turning when the lights go out and not feeling well rested when you wake up in the morning, you’re not alone.
About a week ago, someone told me that, during lockdown, we’re not busy enough to need as much sleep as normal. She said that because we all seemed to be on a go slow, it didn’t really matter when we took the odd power nap or decided to stay up all night binge watching a favourite TV show.
But I disagree.
What many of us don’t realise is that sleeping is an all-important time when our bodies not only recover from the physical strains of the day but that sleep also helps us to bounce back after the emotional and mental stresses that have become our “new normal” right now.
It’s a time when our bodies release important hormones that repair and restore. It’s the time when our skin is rejuvenated and our batteries are recharged in fundamental ways that impact on our mental as well as our physical health.
A sudden halt to life as we know it has actually added more stress rather than simply transported us into the bliss of holiday mode. Many are concerned about their jobs and where the next pay check is coming from. Others are simply not good at being cooped up and need to be out and about to clear the mind of day to day irritations.
For me, the danger is finding myself out of my usual routine.
Just in case you’re not totally convinced that a few extra Z’s can make all the difference to how you manage your current challenges, I suggest that you hit google and find out just why sleep is so important.
A number of studies, including one done by the Mayo clinic, have shown that sleep deprived workers operating machinery, tools and vehicles can pose a danger both to themselves and their colleagues.
It has been scientifically proven that sleep deprivation can have a similar effect as alcohol and that exhausted people display delayed reaction times and poor judgement with potentially tragic consequences. That means you could be more prone to accidents and mishaps when simply jumping in your car and heading off to the local supermarket for a bottle of milk!
Then it comes to personal relationships. While you are spending more and more time with your nearest and dearest, you might find you need a little more patience and understanding. But, add a dose of exhaustion and you have a recipe for strained relations. Take it from me, tired people have short fuses which means existing minor irritations can quickly dissolve into major confrontations, putting further strain on already frayed relationships and creating a vicious cycle.
When it comes to a slower pace of life such as that foisted on us by lockdown, there’s something of a chicken and egg situation, too. Less exertion and more tension can make it very difficult to actually unwind enough to drift off in the first place.
So, if you are tossing and turning and failing to fall asleep no matter how many farmyards of sheep you count, then try some healthy remedies before heading off to your pharmacist or doctor for a solution.
I hope that these relatively simple suggestions will get you back on the way to quality sleep at a time when we all need to find that all important peace of mind. Especially for those that have trouble sleeping, now’s the time to persevere. As with most things, it takes a bit of discipline to feel the benefits – but it is well worth it.