How to enhance sleep during the time of self-quarantine. Sleep is of the utmost importance during the time of keeping our immune system high; our nervous system regulated, and our entire system detoxifying efficiently is one of the most effective measures against pending viruses, bacteria, colds and flus. Remember it’s not just what supplements we take and the high quality food we eat during the day. It is what we can detoxify and how we repair, and all of this magic occurs while we sleep. During the time of the quarantine, emotions and anxiety are running high. And what we do not process in the day, will result in ruminating thoughts at night, triggering that pesky monkey brain, leaving us with poor quality sleep. Meaning we do not fall asleep easy, or we do not stay asleep. Also important to note, when we over sleep, it is also a result of an anxious system. Some will go into overwhelm and sleep. This must be balanced as well. Here are some tips to enhance sleep:
- Stop caffeine at 2pm: The half life of caffeine to get out of the system could take up to 5 or 6 hours. Now that most of us are at home, check if caffeine is simply a habit used for work purposes. Do we need as much caffeine when at home? Likely we do not. If you enjoy a hot cup of something, have one in the morning, and any caffeine no later than 2pm. And for some, more than one cup may be too much. Caffeine is found in: coffee, black tea, green tea, chocolate (yes your nighttime chocolate bite could be keeping you up), cacao, kombucha. Caffeine is stimulating at the best of times, but when we are in an adrenalized fear state, its effect is heightened on our delicate nervous systems.
- Movement: Being at home, there is likely less movement than when we are off to work, kid pick ups, gym routines, socializing, daily chores etc. While we are still able to, plan for a daily walk, make it a non-negotiable. Aim for a morning walk to set your day, however, any time you can get it in is perfect. The fact of the matter is, we need to burn calories to feel tired. When we are at home more, we are simply not burning as much. The fresh air will also do wonders for setting your sleep rhythm.
- Lights lowered 8pm: We are a generation of artificial lights; we can override sleep-wake cycles with having lights on at all hours of the day. We are meant to wake with the sunrise and sleep with the sun set. Our bodies will release melatonin 2 hours after we are in darkness. If we are in bed at 1am and eyes close, our melatonin may not release to its peak until 3am! This does not set the stage for deep sleep. Start to lower the lights at 8pm. If it is safe, sit by candle light. Trust me your nervous system and circadian rhythm will love you for it.
- Turn off electronics at 8pm: Electronics are extremely stimulating to the brain. Many of us consider sitting down with Netflix or reading from our kindles at the end of the night a time to relax, however, for the nervous system it is EXTREMELY stimulating. For an already stimulated anxious nervous system, this needs to be limited. After 8pm as the lights are lowering. Turn off the TV, put away phones, put away laptops, don’t read from kindles, stop video games. Read from a paper book. Spend quality time with the family. Play a board game, etc. The Electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s) from these devices are extremely stimulating. And when we are spending more time indoors, with our sensitive anxious nervous systems, we will be more susceptible. My suggestion is to turn off your router from 10pm -6am. This will be the best thing you could do for your immune system.
- Bonus point – ‘Downloading’: This really works. It seems simple but it works. Take a journal, or a notepad, and prior to bed, write down ALL of your thoughts. Don’t judge or restrict, just write. Write down all the things you have to do tomorrow, the schedule for work mixed with having the kids home. Write it all down. Write down worries, timings of schedules, etc. Write it all down. Then place the pad and pen on your night stand and go to sleep. The subconscious mind now knows that you have everything written down and you will not forget. So it can now relax it’s grip on ruminating and repeating for fear you will forget something. The mind just needs to know you will remember it all.
These are powerful tips, please try one and eventually all of them, let us know how you do, please comment on our facebook group.
In health, Dr. Neetu