How to get a better night’s sleep during lockdown

Sleeping patterns vary hugely from individual to individual but at the moment, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are reporting big changes in the way that they sleep.

A recent survey carried out by market research company Ipsos MORI and King’s College London has suggested that whilst some people are sleeping more than usual, nearly two thirds of the public have reported some negative impact on their sleep, with more than half of the UK population struggling with sleep during the lockdown. Additionally, previous research reported patterns of disturbed sleep, insomnia and vivid dreams.

This is entirely understandable, when everything is so unsettled. Many people are worried about their jobs, their families and their finances and we all know that stress can be one of the major causes for lack of sleep and this becomes a vicious cycle, with people becoming more stressed as a result of a lack of sleep. The survey was carried out in late May with 2,254 residents in the 16-75 age bracket. 

There’s been lots of expert advice out there over recent weeks, including taking exercise, building a routine for your day (even if you are furloughed) and getting out in the sunshine, the latter of which is a mood ‘booster’ and also helps us to generate Vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight also stimulates the production of melatonin, which regulates our ‘sleep and wake’ patterns. Reduced melatonin levels can lead to less sleep.

Professor Kevin Morgan, a psychologist from Loughborough University, says that having a routine really helps to get a better night’s sleep and that preserving consistent sleeping patterns are important. Suddenly going to bed much later if you usually go to bed at 10:30pm is going to be a disruption to your sleeping pattern and when you add stress on top, that will make it worse. He also says it is best to save any sleepiness for bedtime, rather than taking extra naps during the day.

Creating a cosy, welcoming bedroom space is also very important as your mind associates this with being the time to sleep. An important part of your bedroom space is what you sleep on and in. If you are stressed and restless, this is likely to make you feel hot and bothered and will impact on your ability to fall asleep. Choosing the right kind of bedding can help to regulate your body temperature more efficiently, aiding a more restful sleep. Natural products are superb at achieving this, especially wool, which is a natural temperature regulator, radiating heat away from your body when you are hot, but keeping the warmth in if you are cold. Also, because wool is naturally dust mite resistant and also resistant to the build up of micro bacteria it provides a more hygienic sleeping environment that is also hypoallergenic. We take special care with our certified 100% British wool bedding; using British mills to clean it without the use of chemicals and then individually handcrafting each duvet, mattress topper and pillow in our Devon workshops to create a soft, light drape around your body.

Helping to ensure your bedroom is a haven of calm also means trying to avoid using tablets, mobile phones and laptops in bed. Life is unsettled enough at the moment, without having minute by minute updates on social media and news channels when trying to settle down to sleep.

Ultimately, a good night’s sleep is the best way to boost your health and immune system. When you are asleep your body is hard at work repairing any damage and storing your memories. Sleep is also associated with the production and release of proteins called Cytokines that fight infections and also help to make you less vulnerable to viruses.

Ref: BBC News (www.bbc.co.uk);  News-Medical Net (www.news-medical.net); Sleep Review Magazine (www.sleepreviewmag.com