Sleep is the first behavioural pattern to get affected if you’re deeply stressed or worn out in the mind and body. Whereas losing sleep over the pandemic or disorganized naps in the day will hinder your soul rest in the night. The so-called body clock is attuned to a certain pattern and when disturbed takes some time to understand and adapt to it.
Looks like one of our friends from the USA, had a nightmare while she was fast asleep. Due to her over perception /analysis, she almost had dreamt it in the same early morning. She convinced herself constantly ever since she woke up early from sleep.
She had dreamt of dying in open firefight orders issued by the government if they were found loitering around the neighbourhood,
Here’s how to adjust your body’s circadian clock to be more well-rested. This pandemic has set far big problems than the critical illness it brings.
The underlying scores!
There are high chances of pandemic destroying or peace and freedom. As many countries had to curtail their outdoor activities, they might find it little restless over a period.
Peace begins from within, but if we cannot face ourselves, we will be allowing the stress to take over us subconsciously. Thus, our sleep pattern is interrupted too.
Dr Kanwar, director of the medical institute, has just wrapped up a teleconsultation session. “Ever since the lockdown, we have been getting a lot of phone calls about irregular sleep. Not just from people who already have sleep disorders, but also from those who have other lung-related issues.” Anxiety, he says is the main cause.
“There is a common association between anxiety and sleep disturbances,” he says. Uncertainty about the future is a recurring theme he is seeing right now. “People are worried about their job security, their savings, their loved ones in different cities…”. Of course, then there are people who are ‘hooked’ to COVID-19 news alerts — the constant stream of statistics.
The magic of your journal
This works! Hook or crook this just works! By many of the foretold methods of psychology, writing down relieves stress.
Spending half-an-hour during the day on this will reduce the chances of these thoughts coming back to your mind at night. It takes a couple of weeks before it shows results.
Write down all the things that keep you awake at night, and next to it, list the possible solutions of the concerns.
“When you have an anxiety overlay, the kind of sleep that gets most disturbed is N3 sleep,” he says, referring to the third phase of Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep.
The quality of sleep is more important than the number of hours you aim to sleep.
You could either have a problem with sleep onset — no amount of counting sheep is enough. This needs to go! The whole point is to not stress during this window of time. Rather vent out the stress so that you’re asleep before you realize it.
Sweat more, sleep better
With anxiety being just one side of the coin, the lockdown has changed a lot more of our appetite. Our very bodily rhythms, right down to our dietary patterns are out of place.
The more we multi-task between work and home life patterns, the more our body gets confused. So, it is important to take time out for our body to channel our energy back.
“If you are eating late at night, we advise a minimum of two hours break before you go to bed, during which you should not be lying down. It may cause digestive disorders like gastroesophageal reflux disease, which aggravates insomnia,” says Dr Kanwar.
There are three stages of REM sleep, namely, stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3.
The sleep period is divided into many stages for every 90 minutes cycle each.
Stage N1 is when you transition from wakefulness to sleep, to Stage N2, when your breathing and heart rate begin to slow down. Stage N3 is when your body regenerates itself.
“It is the deepest, most refreshing stage of sleep. When you are anxious, N1 and N2 sleep, which are the lighter phases increase, at the cost of N3 sleep,” he says. Post N3, you move into the REM phase, where you have dreams that you can remember post waking up.
Having nightmares are unnatural dreams aren’t just the play of stress, clarifies Dr N Ramakrishnan, founder of Nithra Institute of Sleep Sciences, Chennai. “But if the dreams have a pattern of making you worried or anxious while waking up, that needs to be addressed,” he says.
There is another end to the tunnel, those who oversleep during the pandemic. “One reason could be sheer boredom. For people working from home, it is best to mimic your earlier routine by establishing defined work hours and workspace,” he says. “The other reason could be depression, in which case, you would need to consult a professional.”
Exercises such as deep breathing, yoga, stretches and strength training exercises can help get you into sound sleep advises Dr Ramakrishna.
Low angle of slim woman exercising on an open terrace under a lovely sky. She is doing side lunges and preparing for training with dumbbells. Doing fitness in an open-air concept
However, the timing of these exercises is also important. Traditionally, experts have recommended AM workouts, but a newer study from 2018, published in Sports Medicine, claimed that you can exercise in the evening as long as you avoid vigorous activity for at least one hour before bedtime.
Despite this, in the current scenario, it is best we stick to traditional advice for a reasonably simple enough: sunlight.