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Quarantine-Related Insomnia

If you have been experiencing difficulty sleeping in the months since the outbreak of Covid-19, you are not alone! Researchers have found that the added stressors accompanying the pandemic paired with the sedentary lifestyle we are forced to live as a result of quarantine, many people are experiencing sleep issues. 

Insomnia is defined as a “sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep” (Insomnia). The experience of it can be very uncomfortable. Oftentimes, you feel very alone and stressed. Insomnia also can affect your everyday life as side effects include feeling exhausted, confused, and even higher levels of stress. 

In my experience, insomnia can be scary! Laying in bed at night often leads to me overthinking all aspects of my life which quickly leads to feelings of unease and stress. I have had insomnia ever since I was a kid, with flare-ups during stressful times in my life. I have tried a PLETHORA of different sleep techniques, so here are some of the best ones that helped me! 

woman in bed under covers Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Stocksnap Ways to combat insomnia: 

1. Establish a routine 

Waking up around the same time each morning ensures that you are not sleeping in too much, and thus, disrupting your sleep schedule. On the other side of the day, it is important that you establish your nightly routine. Begin the process about an hour before you want to go to bed, take time to make sure your room is neat and feels comfortable. Dim the lights. Adjust the temperature. Turn off all electronics and remove them from the room. Doing these tasks can help de-stress and help you anticipate sleep. 

2. Exercise 

Exercise is a great way to help regulate sleep patterns as exercise allows you to release energy and stress. However, I believe that exercising can only be useful for helping sleep cycles when done correctly. I have fallen into the trap of constantly working out in hopes of getting some sleep, and oftentimes, all that leads to is sore muscles. I recommend doing something active outside for about 1 hour a day! I also recommend not exercising close to your bedtime. 

3. Writing

When all fails, and you are lying awake in bed, it's possible that every single stressor in your life has come to the forefront of your mind. This feeling can be suffocating, so it’s important to remember that the night is not the time to solve everything. By writing about all the things that give you stress, you are able to release them from your head. Seeing what stresses you out in words can also have a clamping effect as you realize that there truly is not as much as you thought and how you have the capability to solve it. 

4. Get up 

If all fails and you find yourself energetic and unable to settle down, get up! Putting pressure on yourself to fall asleep will not make it any easier. If you are not ready to sleep, find something else to do. I like to think of this time like a gift or bonus hours! Try painting or writing poetry or doing something new! Never think that you failed at sleeping, rather that you have an opportunity to do something for yourself. I would recommend not looking at your cell phone or computer as that can be very stimulating. 

Slumber Cloud Despite these tips being helpful for me in the past, they might not work for everyone and that is okay! Insomnia is scary, but it is not permanent. Additionally, it is not dangerous. You will feel tired, but eventually, you will sleep again. Talk to your friends when you are experiencing this because it is likely that they are experiencing it too. 

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Photo Credit: Her Campus Media