How to Sleep Better During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Paul Riegler on 14 August 2020
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If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re not alone.  The coronavirus pandemic has left many people with unstructured and unsettled, impacting the body’s circadian rhythm and often the impact is greater than jet lag.

In many respects, it’s no different from crossing multiple time zones, subjecting your body to seeing, for example, the time as midnight while it’s really time to attend a meeting or go to lunch. This is behind the phenomenon known as jetlag, when our circadian rhythms – our internal biological clock – and our environment no longer synchronize.

Those suffering from jetlag are typically not at their best and many experience a loss of appetite, headaches, and mild irritability.

Here are five tips to help you survive and thrive amidst the pandemic and when you begin to travel again.

1.) Let there be light

One of the easiest ways of dealing with jetlag is to use light to your advantage. When it’s dark out, your body increases the production of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the brain that regulates your sleep. This makes you sleepy. When it’s light, your body produces less melatonin.

Use a daylight lamp or alarm clock with built-in light that slowly wakes your body naturally.  After awakening, open the curtains, go out on the terrace or take a walk.

2.) End your shower with cold water

This is a practice long followed by FBT Editorial Director Jonathan Spira, who finds it is invigorating and helps him get the day started.

Cold water activates the areas of your brain responsible for regulating wakefulness and the result is a feeling of increased alertness. In addition, the cold water shocks your system and increases your metabolic rate, reducing feelings of fatigue.

3.) Drink lots of water

Hydrating yourself replenishes water lost through sweating and urination when traveling and sleeping.

Mild dehydration increases jetlag and decreases alertness, exacerbates fatigue, and reduces the ability to concentrate. Drinking water while flying will combat this and continuing to drink water during a trip will ensure you are at maximum alertness.

4.) Have some flavonoids

Flavonoids are found in many fruits and vegetables, from citrus fruit, to buckwheat and onions. Some of our favorites are black tea, peanuts, blueberries, orange juice, and chocolate.

Scientists have determined that the consumption of flavonoids results in increased alertness and cognitive function. So go ahead and indulge in a peanut butter and blueberry jelly sandwich. What are you waiting for?

5) Take it outside.

Start your day off by taking a walk or going for a run (after, of course, drinking water and ending your shower with bracing cold water). The combination of physical activity, which enhances cognition, will increase blood flow throughout the body and provide your brain with more oxygen, thereby increasing mental performance.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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