By Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, April 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) – If you toss and turn every night because the coronavirus epidemic has left you anxious and worried, a sleep expert will give you some advice.
Financial difficulties, loss of control or concerns about loved ones can affect people’s quality and duration of nighttime sleep, said sleep psychologist Emerson Wickwire, an associate professor of psychiatry and medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Maryland.
“We are especially vulnerable to lack of sleep during COVID-19, due to spending more time in front of blue light emission screens and the loss of structure and traditional schedules during the day,” said Wickwire. He is the director of the Insomnia Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
“An adequate amount of healthy sleep is crucial to help regulate mood, improve brain function, and increase energy and overall productivity. Without getting enough sleep, our bodies simply cannot function in the best way,” explained Wickwire. in a press release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
It is important to focus on healthy sleep habits during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Get enough sleep. If you’re not sure how much sleep you should, use the AASM Bedtime Calculator, which can help you identify your proper bedtime based on when you need to wake up and your age.
- Maintain a sleep routine. Structure your schedule to support a regular bedtime and wake up time. If possible, skip naps.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment – Make sure your room is separate from your workspace and conducive to sleep. Keep room temperature cool, wear an eye mask and try a white noise machine to block out noise or distractions.
- Turn off your electronics one hour before bed. Leave the devices charging away from your bed so you won’t be tempted to watch stressful news.
- Relax your body before bed. Try meditation or patterned breathing exercises to help relax the mind and prepare the body for restful sleep.
- Try to be positive. Focus on “what is” instead of “what if” to reduce stress. Write a gratitude list before bed and remember to think and appreciate the little things that can increase happiness and reduce stress.
- Stay connected with supportive friends, family, and colleagues who can put concerns in perspective.