Health and fitness expert offers tips on improving sleep in lockdown

General manager Jason Eaton

Jason Eaton. - Credit: Cadbury House

As the lockdown continues, many people have been suffering from lack of sleep. Worrying about job security, making sure home schooling is working and the kids are learning what they should or just the lack of contact with friends and family has impacted pretty much everyone.

Jason Eaton, general manager at theclub and spa at Cadbury House in Congresbury understands completely the worries many of us are going through. With two school-aged children of his own and no definite date on when lockdown will start to ease so that the health club he manages can reopen, trying to ease concerns so we all get some proper rest has never been more important.

Jason said: “I imagine we’ve all suffered from a lack of sleep over the past 12 months so trying to mitigate reasons which might stop us from getting a good night’s rest is really important.

Man yawning

Better sleep improves productivity. - Credit: Pixabay

“First and foremost, doing aerobic exercise and resistance training positively affects sleep, however, the timing of your exercise is very important. Avoid doing any kind of forceful exercise prior to going to bed, as exercise awakes your happy hormones and acts as a stimulant, which could in turn make it more difficult to fall asleep.

“Another consideration is, if possible, to avoid working in your bedroom. You don’t want to be in the same room for literally 24 hours a day!

“When it comes to going to bed, it’s good practice to remove all electronic devices. It’s also important to create a good sleeping environment that is cool, dark, and quiet. Your bedroom is a place for sleeping – this is what you should associate it with. It’s not a place for watching TV and it’s not a place for working on your laptop.

“Also, it’s good practice to remove electronic devices which emit artificial light. These can negatively influence your sleep cycle, so switching them off will ultimately help you relax more and get you ready for sleep.

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“And if you’re wondering why artificial light is so bad, it’s because it tricks your body’s circadian clock into believing that daylight has been extended and as a result it affects your sleep quality.

“If you’re a power napping fan, now’s the time to try and knock this habit on the head (for now anyway). When you try to create your new routine, it’s essential you try and engage with your body’s natural circadian rhythm as much as possible and napping throughout the day may disrupt this in the beginning.

“Also, it would be a good idea to stop drinking caffeine after midday. Coffee, tea, and coke all contain caffeine, which can also negatively affect sleep. While we all respond to caffeine in different ways, there’s one thing for sure - it’s a stimulant, which can impact sleep quality. So, while you’re trying to get your sleep pattern back to normal, avoid drinking any caffeinated drinks after midday.

Screen time

People are advised to have a break from screens an hour before bed. - Credit: Pixabay

“These days, lockdown or no lockdown, looking at screens is a habit, especially right before bed – this is the new norm when it comes to winding down. Ideally, at least one hour prior to going to bed, stop your screen time; this includes TVs, computers, and phones. Instead find a different way to relax, such as meditating, reading or journaling.

“When you do this, you’ll help improve your natural circadian rhythm, as your body will begin to release sleep-promoting hormones that reduce alertness.

“We may have been given a slight glimpse into the future of what life will look like after quarantine, but for many there’s still a sense of fear and uncertainty, which is only heightened when you suffer from sleep deprivation.

“Establishing and looking after your sleep pattern right now will help reduce fatigue and stress. It won’t fix the world’s problems, but it will make you a little bit more productive and calmer — and right now, this is what’s important.”

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