Have you been struggling with your sleep, getting to sleep and/or staying asleep?
During the first lockdown my nightmare intensity was so bad I thought someone in my family (that is deceased) was trying to contact me. It got so bad that I was lighting candles under dead family members photographs trying to work out who it was....
This section below from The Lancet may give us an idea why we are experiencing such a hard time sleeping;
The increased prevalence of sleep disorders in 2020 has also been highlighted in several other publications from different countries. These studies examined the effect on sleep of SARS-CoV-2 infection and confounders related to isolation, quarantine, anxiety, stress, or financial losses. According to a European task force, symptoms of insomnia could be related to psychosocial factors and to the confinements.
In Italy, anxiety related to COVID-19 was highly associated with disturbed sleep. In a survey of 2291 Italians, 57·1% reported poor sleep quality, 32·1% high anxiety, 41·8% high distress, and 7·6% reported post-traumatic symptoms of stress.
In the International COVID-19 Sleep Study, different factors are being investigated using a harmonised set of questions. Insomnia, nightmares, sleep apnoea, fatigue, exhaustion, and REM sleep behaviour disorder are being investigated by this collaboration.
The hypothesis is that fatigue, sleepiness, and REM sleep behaviour disorder might be related to SARS-CoV-2 infection per se, whereas insomnia might be related mainly to confinement, anxiety, and other psychosocial factors.
Ways to remedy this...
1) Declutter your bedroom - this is important to make-sure you have a clear mind when you go to bed and you aren't distracted by lots of mess that can play on your mind subconsciously.
2) Choose to read before sleep instead of watching TV or your scrolling through your phone.
3) Put down all mobile devices by 9pm with the aim to be asleep by 10pm, put them on airplane mode so they do not distract you or better still leave them in another room.
4) Create a bedtime ritual so that your mind and body are triggered into knowing it is time for sleep. Perhaps having a soothing Epsom Salt bath with lavender oil or doing 10 minutes of meditation and breathwork before showering (or during your shower) can switch you into OFF mode; or maybe its a skincare routine or a warm chai tea (like my husband). Even writing down your feelings of gratitude for the day and what you would like to achieve the next day is a valuable way to reach a down time phase in your day.
This is the easiest and for me personally the most effective way of getting to sleep, try it and let me know what you think;
5) Nasal breathing as shown in this video below (next blog will go into further detail).
I wear a lavender eye bag to calm and focus on the breathing.
I hope one or a combination of these ideas helps, let me know in the comments if you have any advice for people struggling in this 3rd Lockdown.
Lavender eye bags, bath salts and essential oil can be purchased from the float centre or shop at www.crystalsfromoxford.co.uk