While the different ways to improve your sleep vary from person to person, there are some good rules of thumb to follow, according to Roxanne Prichard, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of St. Thomas.
"There are a lot of questions this pandemic raises. Having this global crisis makes it harder to relax and fall asleep. If you're having strange dreams right now, rest assured. It's normal to experience vivid, frequent dreams in stressful situations. times," said Prichard.
"These dreams are an important way of processing what we experience during the day," says Prichard. They help us figure out what to remember and also what to forget... but sometimes they don't make much sense.
Roxanne Prichard shared several recommendations to improve your sleep quality:
Relieves anxiety and stress
Experiencing anxiety and getting excited increases your cortisol (stress hormone) which in turn affects your immune system. "The immune system's responses change, the digestive system, reproductive system and growth processes in the body are suppressed," according to Prichard.
Fortunately, there are tools that can help you stay calm during this experience. And we know we come across as a bit biased here, but weighted blankets have been proven to lower your cortisol levels, which in turn reduces anxiety and stress. Dealing well with anxiety and stress therefore ensures that your immune system can continue to work well.
A good immune system is especially important during these times! Another tool is meditation. With apps like Calm or Headspace, you can easily access a whole range of stories and meditations from the comfort of your couch.
Turn your room into a cave
Yes, you read that right! The gold standard is that your room should resemble a cave; cold, dark and silent.
You want your room to be cool but your body warm, says Prichard. Whether that's opening a window, lowering your thermostat at night, or turning on a fan. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the optimal room temperature for a good night's sleep is 15 to 21 degrees.
Try sleep accessories
Prichard says you probably don't need to spend a lot of money for a good night's sleep. Personally, Prichard likes blackout curtains. As a result, you will not be woken up by the sunrise. Many of the students she has worked with have also had positive experiences with a weighted blanket. Especially if their sleep problems stem from anxiety and stress.
Turn off your smartphone and other screens
Screens from the TV or your smartphone can disrupt your sleep in three ways, Prichard said. Firstly, they take time - you plan to go to bed, but you end up being 3 episodes further on Netflix.
The second way involves emotional arousal. If you read (bad) news in the evening, this information can have a negative impact on your night's sleep. If we take in information that is scary, or that generates anxiety or stress, it can prevent us from relaxing to fall asleep.
Finally, we come to the light of screens such as that of our smartphone. This light tricks our brain into thinking we are seeing daylight, stopping it from producing the amount of melatonin needed to easily fall asleep.
Limit alcohol and caffeine
Consuming alcohol and caffeine can negatively affect our sleep. So drinking alcohol, especially in the evening, is not good for sleeping. Nicotine is also not good for your night's sleep.
While research shows that moderate amounts of caffeine are fine, it's best to avoid consuming caffeine later in the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it can take six hours for half of the caffeine to leave your system, which can disrupt your sleep.
Buy Gravity® Blanket weighted blanket
It has been scientifically proven that weighted blankets lower your cortisol and cause your brain to produce more melatonin and serotonin. This ensures less stress and a better night's sleep. This way your immune system has no extra pressure and can ensure that you stay healthy and fit. Especially during these times it is extra important to think about your sleep.
Would you like to know more about how a weighted blanket works? Then read this blog.
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Sleep better and stay safe!