"I'm sleeping so much these days," says just about everyone we encounter. Could it be for the first time in a very long time, we finally know what it feels like to be rested? Interestingly, while our minds tackle this epic stressor, it seems the common, everyday minutia which usually surfaces the moment our head hits the pillow, i.e. the unanswered emails, packages that need to be returned, a rude Uber driver, that thing you should have said, and so on - has seemingly fallen by the wayside. Because A) no FOMO and, B) who cares.
As we process so much information and kick our lives into slow-mode, our minds need to decompress. And, unlike the days of yore, like, say, February (remember February?) when our lives were in constant motion with a running loop of insignificant worry and a desire to "do it all" no matter how chaotic, we're finally taking a pause. According to a recent study, people are sleeping more than ever as we conduct our lives from home amidst the current global pandemic. While the emotional mental stress we're dealing with would have been unimaginable even a month ago, it’s also brought clarity, distilled priorities and forced us to abandon trivial issues. Plus, given the fact that we have no plans, and nowhere to be other than home, we’re finally allowing ourselves the time to rest.
Seeing as everything from your mood to your skin to your immunity suffers when you’re sleep-deprived, let's embrace this moment of reprieve from our chaotic lives. However, if sleep still eludes you, cozy up in your fanciest sweats and read on for tips to slumber.
SET A BEDTIME
Because adults need to be told when to go to sleep too! As our routines change, setting consistent bedtime schedules and wake-up times stabilize circadian rhythms and make all the difference in how we feel, function, and look! Doing this and sticking to it, maintains a sense of normality when so much is out of our control.
Plus, we realize we're a broken record, but it’s called beauty sleep for a reason, and the last thing we need these days is to look in the mirror and feel less than amazing.
ADOPT A ROUTINE
Your regime leading up to bedtime sets the tone and signals the brain to get some shut-eye. To begin, limit news late at night close to bedtime. We understand wanting to stay current, but it's stressful and can disrupt sleep, therefore if you can catch up in the AM, you'll be better off. Plus, before lights out, establish a couple of rituals to prep your mind/body for sleep mode, such as lighting a candle, meditating and reading a real book with pages instead of reading from a screen - we know you've heard this before as any half-hearted Google search will tell you the blue light emitted by devices suppresses melatonin, the hormone you need to sleep.
Not new news. We all know this, but eat healthily, plus (dare we say), go easy on the alcohol. Seeing as we're in this weird OOO situation, it's all too easy to have a glass or two of wine every night, but for quality of sleep, keep it to a minimum. The same goes for caffeine later in the day.
This benefits everything from mind to body. Whether you hit up any of the many apps or IG lives from your living room (even if you do cheat a little during the hard parts, because why not), or take a brisk socially responsible walk around the block, get moving. At the end of each day, we do our best to throw on our cutest workout ensemble (which already gives us a sense of accomplishment) and head outside for some vitamin D which boosts the immune system and encourages good sleep.
Stay socially connected, from a distance. Because yes, even this affects our sleep. Being supported by a community allows the mind to feel safe and sleep soundly. So, virtual happy hour anyone?
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Support a brand that's offering 1:1 masks - buy one for yourself and a healthcare worker, spontaneously buy someone's groceries, support a local restaurant, donate to go-fund-me that is feeding hospital workers, write letters to your grandparents, do good deeds and expect nothing in return. Being selfless, especially at a time when it's so easy to be selfish, will feel good and cause you to sleep well at night.
Spread positivity and write down what you're grateful for at the end of each day as a great reminder of the good in life and a way to stay present which ultimately nurtures a chill mindset for hours of peaceful shut-eye.
On that note, we should go to bed.