fixing your sleep

June 10, 2021
sleep and mental health

We've had a rough year - well, more than a year, really. Adjusting life amidst a pandemic has meant not just working more from home and spending more time indoors.

It's also meant a lack of sleep.

Admittedly, my sleep isn't what it should be. A lot has happened for me in the past year or more - life changes, the death of my spouse, the new quiet at home. It's been enough to ruin the best nights of sleep because of stress and anxiety over one thing or another.

The American Academy of Sleep did a survey of adults last summer, according to a recent New York Times article, that found 20 percent of Americans sayd they had trouble sleeping because of the pandemic. And when they repeated the survey later, the number rose to about 60 percent! That's amazing.

So what to do about it? A lack of sleep can have troubling effects not just on physical health but also on mental health, too. When you're less rested, your body doesn't repair itself well. Your anxieties can be more pronounced.

Some thoughts on how to beat the lack of sleep from the article:

  • Follow the 25-minute rule. Don't stay in bed if you can't fall asleep within 25 minutes of getting into bed. Do a quiet activity that calms your mind and makes you drowsy.
  • Thro away worries. Write down what's on your mind a couple of hours before bed, then crumple the paper up and toss it in the trash.
  • Turn off your screens. If you must use your phone or iPad before bed, do it while standing.

For more on better sleep and mental health, visit the National Institute of Mental Health's website for ideas and tips.