Updated: May 2, 2021
Sleep problems are becoming riskier as the pandemic continues. How can you get back to good rest?
Even if you're usually a wonderful sleeper, you may have noticed your sleep patterns shifting during this lockdown. And if you've always had sleep difficulties, they may be worse now. Physiologically, this makes sense. We're all experiencing:
Increased screen time (computer, TV, phone)
Less/no structure to sleep/wake hours
Decreased/no time outside
And too many sleepless nights can aggravate both physical and mental health challenges, but a few simple adjustments to our already altered routines may resolve our bedtime issues before they get out of hand. It's time for a good night's rest!
It's important to get your sleep back on track because melatonin - the sleep hormone - helps fight off respiratory viruses by:
Decreasing inflammation and oxidation produced during viral infections
Reducing exaggerated immune responses that can lead to serious Covid-19 symptoms.
While there are no official recommendations on taking melatonin supplements to fight Covid-19, you can optimize your body's production of melatonin by doing the following:
Get sun exposure, especially in the morning. If you have access to an isolated, sun-exposed area, great! If not, try to sit by a sunny window while you have your breakfast or check email.
Take your vitamin D in the morning to mimic daytime sunlight exposure.
Screen time inhibits melatonin production in the pineal gland. Minimize night-time exposure to TV, computers, phones -- easier said than done, I know!
Aim for going to bed at a regular time, preferably before midnight. If you sleep at different times each night, your body won't adapt to a rhythmic release of melatonin.
Exercise during the day will help sleep quality at night.
Here’s to a good night’s sleep and a healthy immune response!