Sleep Well During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Since the coronavirus pandemic began spreading around the world there has been a growing feeling of anxiety and uneasiness causing more people to have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. For many people, this is a new and quite alarming experience.
Most of us experience the occasional night of sleeplessness without any severe consequences. It is when the occasional sleepless night becomes a pattern of several nights in a row that you know you have a sleeping problem. The number of people suffering from sleeplessness has risen sharply, so if you are experiencing changes to your usual sleeping pattern, you are certainly not alone.
Lockdown-living has meant that many people have been unable to see family and friends and have been worried about their safety, as well as having fear about their own financial and work future. There is a palpable global sense of anxiety right now, and the gloomy 24 hour news hardly helps create a sense of calm, so there seems no escape from the fear mongering. Especially not when you are trying to sleep.
Feelings of anxiety prevent you from falling asleep as quickly as usual, and often you will awaken again after a short period of fitful sleep. Intense dreams and nightmares about your fears often can cause you wake up in a state of panic, and the whole cycle starts again. Sleep disturbances like this interfere with physical, mental, and emotional functioning.
Sleep loss can affect your overall daily performance and can have a profound effect on your health, and if it continues for a long period of time it can cause problems with your relationships and your professional life. It can become an endless cycle of worry and anxieties as you continue to lose sleep every night.
Insomnia and sleeplessness can be put into three main categories:
- “Initial” insomnia: where you have difficulty in falling asleep, generally taking 30 minutes or longer to fall into a sleep state.
- “Middle” insomnia: where after falling asleep you have problems maintaining a sleep state, often remaining awake until the early morning hours.
- “Late” or “Terminal” insomnia: where you awake early in the morning after less than 6 hours of sleep.
There are many traditional medicines and drugs that can help alleviate sleeplessness, but most of them have undesirable side-effects and can become addictive. Unless you suffer from a medical condition that requires your doctors intervention it’s much safer to take a natural approach to getting a good night’s sleep.
For example, when you go to bed try to deepen and lengthen your breathing patterns. Try to inhale for five seconds and then exhale for five seconds. You’ll be taking six breaths per minute. This takes a little practice but can work quite well to help put you to sleep, so it’s worth the effort.
Take a deep breath and hold it. As you are holding your breath tense up the muscles all over your entire body and hold both for 30 seconds. Exhale your breath and then completely relax. Take several relaxed breathes and repeat three more times. You’re mind will begin to slow down, you’ll feel calmer, and soon will find yourself drifting into a restful sleep.
Essential oils to help you sleep
As you probably already know, there are several essential oils that can help you get a good night’s sleep, and there are lots of easy ways to use them. Choose the method that suits you best, but be sure to try them all in case one way works better than another for you.
Bergamot, chamomile roman, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, sweet marjoram, nroli, sandalwood, ylang ylang – and of course, lavender, are all essential oils that can help you to drift into a peaceful and refreshing night’s sleep.
One of the best and easiest ways to use these essential oils is in a warm bath just before you go to bed. Run a nice warm bath and add just 6 to 8 drops in total of your chosen essential oils to the bath water, and then agitate the water well or use a Bath Dispersant to disperse the oils evenly.
To supercharge your treatment add some essential oils to an aromatherapy diffuser in your bedroom after getting out of the bath. By the time you have dried yourself off and you’re ready to slip between the sheets, the relaxing aroma of the essential oils will have filled your bedroom. Practice the deep-breathing exercise above and together with the oils it will help you drift into a peaceful, pandemic-free slumber.
Alternatively, mix your chosen essential oils in a carrier oil and ask your partner to give you a mini-massage just before retiring to bed. The relaxing action of massage together with the essential oils encourages your body to relax, and slows down your heart rate, making it easier for you to drift into a deep, relaxing sleep.
If your symptoms of insomnia persist you must consult with your doctor as soon as possible to determine the exact cause of your problem.