It’s almost time for back to school...or virtual classes, or a bit of both! No matter what your personal and family routine looks like, now’s the best time to prioritize sleep so you can properly adjust to whatever curveball life throws at you. Keep reading for ways to set a routine and why it’s important to do so! After all, we’re sure we can expect the unexpected, at least for the next little while.
The importance of sleep
Sleep is a vital necessity to live a healthy life. It helps with overall mental health, physical health, and quality of life. To put this into perspective, think of sleep as a reset button - we need to reset every day for our bodies to maintain decent physical health and support healthy brain functioning. Without this rest, our bodies lag, both short and long term. Listed below are only a handful of effects of poor quality sleep.
Harmful short term effects of sleep deprivation include:
- Daytime fatigue
- Frequent yawning
- Excessive sleepiness
Harmful long term effects of sleep deprivation include:
- Psychological triggers: depression, paranoia, mania, hallucinations
- Heart Disease
These are only a few effects that can result from a lack of sleep. If you’re interested in ways to ensure that rest is in your daily routine, then we’ve got some tips down below.
How exactly did COVID-19 change our sleep routines? Here are some factors that lead to increased sleep problems.
- Increase in stress and worry
- Disruption of a daily schedule
- Feelings of isolation
- Extended amount of screentime
- Increase in alcohol consumption
- Extremely unpleasant dreams
It’s no surprise that COVID-19 disrupted not only our bedtime routines but vacations, work-life, and even family dynamic. Everyone’s been stuck at home or worrying about the risk of getting COVID. Safe to say that a lot of people are still stuck in limbo or JUST starting to recover from coronavirus.
Ways to prioritize sleep in times of uncertainty
Since this pandemic has drastically changed consistency in routines, some of us may not know where or how to start getting back on track come fall time. You’re not alone in being a little apprehensive for this upcoming school season. Even though the uncertainty remains present, there are ways to get back into the groove of things. Here are some ways to prioritize sleep during times like these.
Step one is to acknowledge when you need more rest. Simply making a mental note of what your day looks like, how you’ve been feeling, and how much sleep you’ve been getting can be helpful. This may seem like a farfetched trick, but sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re sleep-deprived. So, ask yourself: did I get enough sleep today?
Set a family routine
Summer’s almost gone, and school is just around the corner. No matter what your household routine looks like for this upcoming back to school season, it’s a good idea to get a consistent schedule rolling out, even better if the whole family is involved.
For adults 18-60 years old, the CDC recommends that this group receives at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Those in the 61-64 years old range are recommended 7-9 hours, and 7-8 hours for the 65 and up age group. This should be the base. If you’re already getting the listed amount for your age, then you should mainly focus on your sleep quality.
For the kids, use the last two weeks before school starts to implement an appropriate sleep schedule. Every night, set an earlier bedtime than the last, and every morning set an earlier wake-up time. The two weeks offer some room for error, allowing the kids to soak up the final days of summer while still easing back into a routine.
Have a relaxing pre-sleep routine
Meditation, yoga, and other relaxing activities have proven to be effective for stress and sleep deprivation. Set some time before bed to wind down, destress and engage in calming activities. If time is limited, music and white noise sounds created especially for deep sleep can do wonders.
Turn off the electronics
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: take some time away from technology. Especially now, when we are receiving news and updates every 10 seconds, it’s important to log off every day to keep sane and for better sleep. Don’t know when to put your phone away? Shut off all the TV’s and phones before your bedtime routine. This way, you get rid of the stimulating blue light and hopefully, keep the news stressors out of mind, at least until the morning time.
Set your sleep up for success
Try to eliminate everything that hinders your quality of sleep. For some, it’s sleep position, room temperature, or allergies. Some of which can be easily fixed with medication and air purifiers. But what’s the most common? Snoring. This is a known issue that often disrupts sleep quality for the snorer and the partner. Natural remedies, changing your sleep position, and/or using a mouthpiece can all be effective ways to stop snoring. An easy, quick, and effective fix is the Good Morning Snore Solution.
These are unprecedented times, and we’re all trying to adjust to our new normal. Going into fall, life might continue to be a bit rocky. If there’s anything we can do as individuals, it’s to prioritize our health, and sleep is a good place to start.