Sleep is incredibly important for all aspects of our health. Getting inadequate sleep puts us at higher risk for all kinds of illnesses that can turn chronic over time.
It also can leave our immunity decreased, which is not ideal in the midst of a global pandemic.
Unfortunately we have more reason than ever to experience sleep problems, so how can we try to regain balance?
Problems Sleeping? You’re Not Alone.
If you’ve been tossing and turning, waking up suddenly, or having vivid dreams or nightmares you aren’t alone.
Psychologists have confirmed that stressful times can lead to fitful sleep, and the recent rash of vivid dreams and nightmares is caused by all of our stress and apprehension about what is going on in the world.
Extra stress makes it difficult to fall asleep, and as our brains try to make sense of our daily struggles the result is crazy dreams, nightmares, and waking up in a cold sweat.
Even those who suddenly have more time on their hands because of a layoff are having trouble sleeping. Financial woes aside, having more time doesn’t necessarily mean being able.
11% of unemployed people say they plan to get more sleep with their extra time, but even before there was a pandemic and mass unemployment only 60% of the unemployed and 65% of the employed were getting enough sleep.
Six in ten leading causes of death have been linked to lack of sleep. Lack of sleep causes a spike in stress hormones that over time can lead to problems like anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
But during the pandemic getting enough sleep is crucial because how well rested you are correlates with whether or not your immune system is functioning properly.
Sleep is a time for your body to rebuild itself, and if it isn’t able to clear out toxins and fight off infections, those problems keep building and carrying over until you are able to get adequate sleep.
How To Get Better Sleep Today
Start by maintaining a schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Make sure your bedroom is only used for sleep – watch television and take stressful phone calls somewhere else. Make sure it is dark and use room darkening shades if you need to.
Make sure it is cool and install cooling equipment if you need to. Make sure there are no distracting noises and get a white noise machine if you need it.
If you are still having trouble sleeping, there is no shame in asking for help. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a sleep aid or check to see if there are medical reasons why you may not be sleeping adequately. Sleep testing can help figure out what the problem is.
Sleep And Immunity
There has never been a time when getting adequate sleep has been this important. It could be the difference between being able to fight off an infection and not, and you have to give yourself the best fighting chance.
Learn more about sleep and immunity from the infographic below.