Improving sleep in difficult times: 7 steps for better rest


In difficult periods marked by tension and uncertainty, one of the first aspects affected is our sleep. We become more alert to noises, increasingly worried, and tend to stay up late in front of screens.

Unfortunately, these factors do not contribute to a restful sleep. It is important to recognize that inadequate sleep can significantly impact our daily functioning, especially during times like these. To ensure you feel your best, prioritizing quality sleep is crucial.

Before we delve into the details, it is important to emphasize that without allocating sufficient time for sleep, no changes will be realized. Although the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, research suggests that an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night is ideal. Start by aiming for eight hours of sleep each night. Follow these recommendations to improve your sleep without relying on medication or supplements:

1. Control Light Exposure:

Reduce or prevent exposure to computers, televisions, tablets, and phones at least three hours before bedtime. Use software to minimize the blue light emitted by these devices. Even if it is challenging to disconnect from screens at this time, ensure you reduce the evening exposure to blue light. Additionally, turn off, cover, or remove any light-emitting devices in your bedroom, such as alarm clocks.

2. Seek Sunlight Exposure:

Take a short walk in the morning upon waking up. Even stepping out onto your balcony or into the garden for half an hour can significantly improve your mood in the morning and promote better sleep at night. This action helps regulate your biological clock and enhances daytime functioning and nighttime sleep quality.

3. Engage in Physical Activity:

Ensure you engage in enough physical activity to support good sleep. Pay attention not only to formal exercise but also to the amount of time spent sedentary during the day. Instead of sitting in front of a computer, try using a standing desk. Incorporate more walking into your daily routine, utilizing stairs whenever possible. If access to open spaces is limited, make use of the stairs in your building and opt to stand instead of sit while spending time in front of screens.

4. Consider Your Diet:

Pay attention to your diet, even in stressful times. Some individuals find that a small dinner, particularly those with indigestion, works best for them. Others benefit from a bedtime snack, especially those with low blood sugar levels. In general, avoid going to bed either overly full or hungry. Ensure your diet is balanced and not excessively low in carbohydrates or fats, as these dietary choices can disrupt sleep.


5. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake:

Caffeine and alcohol can significantly impact sleep, so it is best to avoid or minimize their consumption if you experience sleep problems. Especially during challenging periods, be mindful of the fluids you consume and prioritize water. However, if you typically consume a lot of coffee, it is not advisable to abruptly stop its intake. Gradually reducing caffeine consumption during calmer periods is a better approach.

6. Manage Stress Effectively:

Stress management is crucial when aiming for restful sleep. Undoubtedly, these are challenging times, and we all experience pressure. Therefore, it is especially important to adopt stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and more to optimize sleep quality.

7. Create a Relaxing Bedroom Environment:

Designing a bedroom that promotes relaxation and prepares you for sleep is highly effective in enhancing sleep quality. Even if you are currently not sleeping in your usual bedroom, ensure your sleeping environment is conducive to good sleep.

Maintain a comfortable room temperature, as most individuals sleep better in slightly cooler conditions. Even if you are not in your regular bed, ensure the one you sleep on is comfortable. Failing to do so can compromise the quality of your sleep.

During challenging times like these, our bodies require all available resources to cope with the situation.

In order for us to contribute to work, volunteering, or other efforts, prioritizing our sleep is vital. 

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