The nation recently commemorated one year since the first lockdown – one year of living with the pandemic and making space for the ‘new normal’.
As a result of this massive upheaval, many of us have struggled with a loss of routine and a subsequent disruption to our sleep cycles. Our body clocks have had a bit of a shock, having to adjust to this new way of living. Our days are filled with much less diversity and stimulation. In addition, our relationship with time has been altered, as boundaries between work and home, night and day, collapse, and the term ‘groundhog day’ is being mentioned a fair few times.
Inevitably, this lack of structure has detrimental effects on our sleeping patterns. You might find yourself sleeping at unusual times, your body clock is upside down and back to front, you can barely sleep at all, or you’re waking in the night and unable to get back to sleep. Perhaps you’re sleeping much more than usual and struggle to get out of bed when you wake up. Maybe anxiety or overthinking is a big sleep obstacle for you. Maybe it’s a lack of exercise and activity during the day.
Whatever the exact issue, the end result is the same. A lack of quality sleep (on top of a global pandemic) means low energy, irritability, poor concentration, lack of motivation, and poor emotional regulation. It can impact our productivity and creativity at work, as well as relationships with those close to us.
I know it might seem like just an extra thing to have to worry about, but implementing healthier sleep habits, setting intentions and maintaining boundaries (such as only staying in bed between certain hours) will help in the long run, creating a sense of structure and self care. Being intentional with things like practising good sleep hygiene, limiting screen time, limiting alcohol and caffeine, meditating, visualising, breath-work, talking about your concerns, and being as active as possible during the day will have positive effects on your sleep and your well-being more generally. Rest is a fundamental right, so empower yourself to claim it and start feeling yourself again.