Updated: May 31
We are living in unprecedented times. Never before in our lifetime has a global health issue of epic proportions come to our doorstop, affecting every country and individual on the planet. Economies are plummeting and struggling to survive. Most of the world is under quarantine. And to top it all off, people’s ability to sleep amidst this chaos is being seriously compromised. I consider sleep one of the most foundational elements for both physical and mental health. When we get enough sleep, we can take on the world. When we are sleep deprived, even the smallest obstacles seem insurmountable. We might not have the cure for coronavirus quite yet, but we can take back the night and get the sleep we need to be healthy and productive, even under lock-down.
For the Love of Day - Get Outside
One of the most important elements of good sleep is feeding our body's natural circadian rhythm with a healthy dose of sunlight and fresh air during the day.
It sends our brain cues that now is time to be fully awake, and a strong day is a restful night. Now this might be harder than it sounds, especially for those who live in urban environments, work from home and have their food delivered.
Wouldn't you rather be there right now?
But you have to make it a priority, even an open window basking the sun’s glory helps a little. If you can safely go for a walk or do exercise outside, even better. But even if your exercise routine is limited to indoor yoga and treadmill, make it a daily priority to get some healthy sunlight. And don’t forget the vitamin D as well.
Keep Your Negative Thoughts in Check
There is a lot to worry about nowadays. What is going to be with the economy? When will the quarantine end? When will the covid cases peak?
These are tough questions that nobody has the real answers to. But they can keep us up at night worrying, despite the fact that there is nothing we can do about them.
She's not going to have an easy time falling asleep tonight.
Worrying is a funny thing, the less control we have over the matter, the more our mind races to try to fund solutions and face grim realities.
The happiest, most successful I know spend time worrying about what they are in control of, and nothing more. That which occupies our thoughts during the day will not just vanish when our head hits the pillow.
First of all, you have to keep your sources of worry in check. Maybe having the news on all day, streaming political pundits and doomsday predictions are not serving any purpose and quite literally keeping you up at night.
For those lingering thoughts, meditation and thought replacement is a great tool to keep in our arsenal to diffuse that worry and allow our minds to turn off at will.
The Secret Sauce for Success
Ask yourself the following question. What is the most important thing I can do right now to be successful at my mission tomorrow?
We are all trying to balance a lot. Our once quiet homes have now become our offices, schools, daycares, and couch-blanket-fort centers all at once.
They are having fun. How about you?
Many families are trying to balance work life with home-schooling their children on top of all their other domestic and personal responsibilities. As much as we wish that a masked Mary Poppins would swoop in and save the day, in reality we have to face our practically imperfect situation that not everything is going smoothly as planned.
Pick your battles wisely. Decide what your most important goals are for any given day, and let all the other details fall by the wayside. Having patience with your kids. Being able to concentrate on work while being at home.
Sleep is a key ingredient to the big picture issues. And while yes, your extra hour of zzz’s might not clean your floor or prepare fancy dinners, it might just be the essential ingredient for mission accomplished under lock-down.
Doron Lazarus is a sleep coach and founder of Lazarus Insomnia Consulting, a firm dedicated to helping professionals get the sleep they need to perform their best. To get in touch with him directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online at www.lazarusconsulting.org