Sleep in the time of Covid
Once again, Covid cases are rising worldwide and with them are concerns about mental and physical health amid looming closures. This added stress also takes a toll on our sleep. Heading into the new year is typically a time of reflection and self-improvement yet it can be hard given the global circumstances. Alas, we deal with the hand we are dealt and the stressful times ahead do not necessitate taking a break from working on oneself! The pandemic has reached a level of normalcy that ironically feels nothing close to normal, just as the holidays have brought newfound cheer and relaxation (hopefully!). The Omicron variant seems to have taken the Grinch’s role this time around, attempting to rob us from our much-anticipated holiday plans with friends and family. Here we outline some key strategies to manage stress and sleep habits going into the new year.
Finding, identifying and working on a purpose in life is critical to weathering normal difficulties and can be a positive way to head into uncertain times. An article by Juensung Kim et al. provides us with some clinically proven strategies to mitigate the pandemics effects on personal growth. The study was conducted in an online survey format in order to compile a wide range of perspectives. Participants under isolation conditions during the pandemic were asked about which strategies they found effective for the purpose of personal growth. The coping mechanisms covered vary from substance abuse all the way to religious practice. A key takeaway was that most well-being was drawn from those who have defined a clear meaning to their life and those who engaged in personal projects as opposed to the route of escapism through means like drugs and video games.
When interpreting findings like this, it is important to remember that everyone copes with isolation and stress in their own way. Many people do not have the luxury of engaging in personal projects whether it be because of time constraints or financial means. Escapism may have a place in every person’s lives although it is important to recognize that there is a limit to its adaptational qualities. Escapism through substance abuse, for instance, is a maladaptive mechanism to cope with stress and typically exacerbates the issue. The odd narrative-driven escape such as a book or video game can provide a healthy outlet but the bottom line is that personal projects, no matter how substantial, contribute to the broader feeling of self-improvement one may be seeking in these times.
As we contemplate possible future lockdowns in the months ahead there is a way to find a silver lining. What better way to use this extra time to improve your relationship with sleep! With possible closures the ordinary antagonists to a good night’s rest are reduced during lockdown. Again, it must be stated that not everyone has the perfect lockdown mindset and while self-improvement should be a goal for all, the pressure to do so can be more of a stressor than helpful.
Taking small steps to improve your sleep schedule can go a long way to not only improve your quality of rest but also your mental health for the day ahead. Some habits we suggest are: reducing screen consumption at least an hour before bedtime (this would be a great time to work on that book you’ve been meaning to read), maintaining a stricter sleep schedule, reducing the amount of work you do before bed to allow your mind time for relaxation, and not eating large quantities before bed (a difficult task during the holidays to say the least).
Let Zenbev do some of the heavy lifting here. Zenbev Drink Mix is the best natural sleep solution and can get your year off to the best start possible. We can use all the help we can get during these times. Set your goals wisely and look for purpose and positive habits to make the best of a possibly challenging new year.