It is clear that the pandemic we currently find ourselves in has definitely had an impact on the way we approach rest, as well as our sleep quality in general.
With common practices such as heading out to work each morning now scrapped for the time being, the concept of working from home has affected the sleep patterns of many.
For parents now at home with their children as opposed to dropping them at school, or students now signing in to watch lectures from their laptop screens in bed, studies have shown that a lull in activity has lead to a drop in social jet lag.
Despite this, the effects of COVID_19 on sleep overall have been substantial and we’ve been working with Sleep Specialist Dr Robin Thorpe to discover the reasons.
‘We have really interesting data available pertaining to how the global health pandemic has affected the sleep behaviours of various populations. App-style questionnaires have been used to delve a little deeper into the sleeping habits of individuals and have shown that subjective mood was negatively affected during the first period of the pandemic, furthermore, we know that people have been sleeping later and longer and spending more time in bed.’- Dr.Robin Thorpe
Several studies have shown that during the strictest phase of the pandemic, people working from home were heading to bed at reasonable times due to a lack of social activity, from meals out through to late night pub drinking.
Despite this seemingly healthy option of heading to bed early for an early rise, people were in fact sleeping longer than they would have done pre COVID, achieving more sleep in the process due to the relaxed timings of their new normal.
Whilst some would perceive an increase in rest hours as a positive, it has been revealed that quality of sleep actually went down during this time period, with the main culprit being COVID_19 related stress and anxiety in playing a role in the depleting quality of sleep.
Not surprisingly, the unprecedented COVID_19 pandemic has taken its toll on sleep quality in general, with heightened dreams; increased health concerns and the constant missing of family and friends all playing a role in disruption to rest.
‘Regular adjustments and alterations to sleep patterns and behaviour can have negative effects on sleep quality therefore maintaining sleep schedules is important alongside daily exposure to natural light particularly in the morning and regular exercise to improve general sleep quality particularly during lifestyle shifts due to COVID-19’- Dr.Robin Thorpe
Yet, it can also be seen that the lockdown did deliver something in the way of promoting better sleep routines, aiding our bodies in heading to bed and waking at a comfortable time, as the social, work based rules were altered and we were able to listen to our bodies instead.
Take a look below at some simple ways to boost your sleep quality in lockdown:
-achieve regular, daily exercise. Opt for one form of exercise each day to ensure a deep sleep each night
-ensure exposure to the outdoors and get plenty of sunlight, this helps with your circadian rhythm
-ensure a healthy, balanced diet and avoid caffeine after midday
-have a hot bath before bed
-invest in some sleep apps in order to help you to fall asleep
How’s your sleep been lately? Discover our other COVID_19 related articles to help you through this difficult time.