Life in lockdown can definitely be tricky, with anxious thoughts often causing stressful days and interrupted sleep…
For many, when sleep does come, vivid dreams seem to be a constant interference, usually spurred on by the current high stress of the COVID_19 situation.
Intense, emotional dreams are a common addition to people’s lives when a sudden change happens within their everyday.
For some, they might dream of their life previous to COVID_19, whilst others might experience night terrors due to heightened levels of anxiety before heading to bed.
‘During the current COVID-19 pandemic it’s natural that people may be experiencing some anxiety related sleep disturbances’ – Dr Robin Thorpe
Often, our everyday working life can be both repetitive and at times mundane, causing less intense dreams during the week. With a ‘new normal’ now occurring, our nighttime thoughts can definitely wonder and lead into sleep disturbance.
Lack of sleep during this time can not only be linked to the current situation, but poor sleep can often contribute to a variety of other factors, such as poor mental health, fatigue and low mood.
Simple steps to reduce anxiety before bed can of course lead to a deeper sleep, according to Dr. Robin Thorpe, our Sleep Scientist here at MLILY; ‘there could be a myriad of factors but limiting digital information from electronic devices in the hour prior to sleep and if necessary taking down ‘worry’ notes for recall on the subsequent day may improve some of the issues.’
Other steps to control excess worry before bed, hence limiting sleep disturbances and dreams, can come in the form of limiting news intake each day. Often, letting too much negative and sometimes worrying information leak into our minds before bed can have a disruptive impact on our rest.
According to Robin, when we are unable to control certain wider factors in our lives, such as the current pandemic, it helps to focus on the things that we can take control of;
‘Ensuring consistent sleep behaviour routines, adequate light exposure, exercise, good sleep hygiene and avoiding large and frequent amounts of caffeine and alcohol can lessen any negative sleep effects from anxiety.
Naps are another fantastic way to improve sleep quantity if nocturnal sleep is affected by anxiety, napping just for 20 min has been shown to boost immune system function and perceived energy levels which could offset these anxiety related sleep disturbances’ – Dr Robin Thorpe
Although research cannot yet pin point the exact reason as to why we dream during high stress situations and times, taking simple steps to remain calm before sleep can help dramatically in improving rest, ensuring we are healthy during this period.
How’s your sleep been lately? Discover our other COVID_19 related articles to help you through this difficult time.