Sleep well! Tips for dealing with insomnia during the COVID-19 pandemic

Launching Netflix on mobile, catching up on your favorite show to kill time by falling asleep slowly… We’ve all been there, we’ve done it, but almost all of us have complained about not getting enough sleep. There seems to be a correlation here – and the experts agree.

Insomnia, which results in chronic insomnia, is spreading rapidly, especially with the widespread effects of the pandemic that has been raging for two years, even as scientific studies reveal that healthy and adequate sleep is extremely important for the immune system. .

“People reporting problems with insomnia increased by 24% due to factors such as increased stress and anxiety levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, reluctance to go to hospital for treatment of sleep problems, decrease in daily physical activity and less exposure to natural light,” says Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya, Neurology Specialist at Acıbadem Fulya Hospital.

Emphasizing that a person can benefit from certain intellectual and behavioral changes to combat insomnia, Yalçınkaya offers nine effective suggestions and warnings to get a better night’s sleep.

Don’t try to sleep

Try to reduce thoughts about sleep. Your bed should remind you of sleep, not insomnia. For this reason, do not go to bed until you are sleepy.

When you can’t sleep, get out of bed within 15-20 minutes and change rooms, and go to bed when you feel drowsy again. Repeat this all night if necessary. When you switch places, try methods such as meditation, relaxation exercises, and reading books, then go back to bed when you feel sleepy again.

Accepting that sleep is a natural state like breathing and being hungry and that you will eventually fall asleep, knowing that everyone’s sleep time may be different, can be a start in reducing sleep-related anxieties.

Surfing online on your smartphone in bed is not conducive to healthy sleep. (Photo courtesy of Acıbadem)

No phone in bed

Many people, especially those who cannot stay away from social media, go to bed with their cellphones and browse through other people’s posts, prompting positive and negative thoughts and exposing themselves to the light of the sun. ‘screen.

However, when you go to bed, your brain should not be full of other experiences and problems. As with the telephone and the computer, watching television and reading in bed are among the factors that negatively affect falling asleep. Try to read your book in a different place, not in the bed where you will fall asleep.

Exercise

Scientific studies reveal that regular exercise significantly improves the quality of sleep. Therefore, do not stand still during the day; instead, walk and exercise. Regular walking and exercise, which are beneficial to all aspects of health, also reduce emotional stress.

The ideal time to exercise to combat sleep disorders is in the afternoon. Intense exercise just before bedtime increases alertness, which makes it harder to sleep.

Avoid caffeine

Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine significantly impair the quality of sleep. It should be remembered that caffeine is not only found in coffee. Those with sleep problems should avoid such stimuli and avoid tea and coffee in the afternoon.

Trying to sleep without being sleepy can be a bad idea.  (Photo courtesy of Acıbadem)

Trying to sleep without being sleepy can be a bad idea. (Photo courtesy of Acıbadem)

Regularity is important

Streamlining bedtime, waking times, and even daily meal and exercise times, and sticking to a regular schedule helps our body clock work better. On weekends, bedtimes and wake-up times should be the same as during the week.

Make sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time seven days a week.

Not hungry, not full

“For good sleep, it is necessary not to go to bed on an empty stomach and to avoid heavy meals before bedtime. It is beneficial to lie down at least two to three hours after eating. Studies have reported that L-tryptophan, found in dairy products, can help with sleep,” says Yalçınkaya.

Watch out for naps

Although short-term afternoon sleep is beneficial for overall health, the amount of time people with insomnia sleep during the day negatively affects their nighttime sleep. If you feel the need to sleep during the day, you can sleep a little before 2 p.m.

Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya, Neurology Specialist at Acıbadem Fulya Hospital, poses for a photo.  (Photo courtesy of Acıbadem)

Dr. Beyza Çitçi Yalçınkaya, Neurology Specialist at Acıbadem Fulya Hospital, poses for a photo. (Photo courtesy of Acıbadem)

Review your room

Since it is very important for quality sleep that the place where you sleep is calm, cool, dark and airy before going to bed, make the necessary arrangements by respecting these rules.

The ideal room temperature for good sleep is 18 to 19 degrees Celsius (64.4 to 66.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

Do not neglect the treatment of diseases

“Because stress, anxiety and environmental factors, as well as many diseases such as neurological diseases, hypertension, reflux, rheumatic diseases and fibromyalgia can trigger insomnia, it is necessary to be aware of these diseases and begin the treatment that the doctor deems necessary. “, emphasizes Yalçınkaya.

“In addition, one should go to sleep clinics for the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases such as sleep apnea, snoring, leg movements during sleep, which can interfere with maintaining sleep,” advises she.

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