We are living in interesting times, as schools across the country are closing for weeks at a time, and businesses are closing or encouraging teleworking, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of this upheaval can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule if you let it.
The first thing to try to nip in the bud is what we call “sleep anarchy.” It tends to happen more often in the summer, when kids don’t have school and even some adult work schedules loosen. Basically, if you don’t have to get up for school or work, you start staying up later and later at night, and sleeping later and later in the morning. Being aware of this is the first step.
Our bodies work best when they have a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to sleep within an hour of your normal bedtime each night. Your children probably don’t have a particular reason not to stay up late, and if you don’t have to commute to work, you probably don’t have to stick to a rigid schedule right now either. However, it’s best to artificially create that schedule, for your own health.
Another issue that may crop up is that if you aren’t leaving the house much (or at all) right now, you may not be getting much exercise. While social distancing is very, very important right now, your body also needs exercise. Taking a walk in a place where there won’t be many people may pay dividends when it’s time to go to sleep at night.
Finally, stress is a big problem when it comes time to sleep. Many people find that they’re watching the news all day long and getting more and more worried about the pandemic. When it comes time to sleep, they find it difficult due to worry. The best thing that you can do is turn off the TV at least an hour before bedtime, and read a calming and enjoyable book that has nothing to do with outbreaks or contagion.