During this period of Lockdown many of us are having trouble sleeping and its no surprise with COVID-19 being a worrying time. 
A new survey commissioned by three leading bodies championing sleep, ‘Sleepstation’, ‘The Sleep Council’ and ‘The Sleep Charity’, report that 43% are now finding it harder to fall asleep, with unease around the current COVID-19 situation affecting sleep for 75%. Interestingly, it also found that women are more likely to suffer from anxiety associated with coronavirus and are twice as likely to report feeling stressed compared to men. 
Sleep can be disturbed in many ways with feelings such as feeling restless, waking up during the night, wide awake, having nightmares and finding it hard to relax and switch off. Sleep is so important for our health and well-being, it can affect memory, immune system, energy levels, mood, appetite, your mental health and even your happiness! So, we perhaps need to make some changes to our day to get sleeping better and in turn feeling better. 
I wanted to put some easy hints and tips – things you can do to help you sleep better. 
1.) No Caffeine drinks, things like tea, coffee and cola type drinks late on the night. Perhaps try a herbal tea infused with Chamomile in and enjoy a few cuppas in the afternoon/evening to help prepare our bodies for rest. 
2.) Let’s not watch the news after 7 or 8pm, set yourself a time limit. Or perhaps tune into the news once a day if you can. But watching this before going to bed will heighten your anxiety. 
3.) Try reading a book before bed – if you are like me I read a few pages and then I find myself easily dosing so much so I think I have read the same few pages of the same book a few times and not got much further! 
4.) Pillow spray – worth the investment and they are not all expensive. You can get a nice lavender pillow spray from most supermarkets and chemists and online. Spray a few times on your pillow before you brush your teeth, then when you get into bed take some nice deep breaths in. 
5.) Enjoy a nice warm bath soak with some relaxing body bath in before bed. Brands like ‘Radox’ have relaxing cost effective bubble bath solutions and may help reduce any tension in your muscles that you have so that you relax better into your sleep. 
6.) Limit your social media and phone usage, the bright light that comes of the screens will be stimulating your brain and not helpful before bed when you are trying to relax. 
7.) Don’t have emotionally charged discussions about the state of the world before bed, try and put you cares and concerns to bed before you get into bed. 
8.) Practice some mindfulness, relaxation an’d/or meditation, whether that’s joining Sally’s online seated Qigong tai-chi sessions at 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays live on the Cerebral Palsy Midlands Facebook page, a Pilates or yoga class. There is a lot available free on ‘YouTube’ and there are apps like ‘Calm’ that can guide you free a 5-minute meditation or talk you through being clam and a better sleep pattern. 
9.) One that works for me – there are several apps if you have a phone ‘Calm’, ‘Spotify’ that have sleep music you can listen to. There are lots of sounds you can pick from that may work for you, for my partner it’s the sound of thunder lightning and heavy rain, for me it’s the sound of the sea and waves crashing into the shore. So find something that helps your mind ease into sleep. 
10.) And finally there are online programmes such as www.sleepful.me (free) and www.sleepstaion.org.uk (free in England on the NHS) that are effective. 
Finally if you continue to still be deprived of your sleep after a long period of time then you should seek medical advice from your doctor. 
For more information about this article please contact Development Officer Sarah Lilly by email sarah@cpmids.org.uk 
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