The Covid-19 pandemic is causing disruption in all areas of our lives – including our sleep.
Now that lockdown 2.0 is well under way and working from home is likely to be with us for quite some time, it’s safe to say we’re all feeling a little stressed.
According to the experts, this is causing sleep problems for people all over the world and particularly in the UK, which was found to be one of the six most sleep deprived countries.
A recent survey carried out by wearable tech brand Zepp in partnership with World Sleep Society found that a quarter of Brits have been finding it much harder to sleep in the past six months.
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For 20% of people surveyed, the problem lies in their sleeping pattern, which they admit is ‘all over the place’ at the moment.
For some respondents (15%), this included napping in the day, while others have started staying up until the early hours because of the loss of structure in their day-to-day, with 27% of people admitting to becoming ‘night owls’.
Even more concerning, though, is the fact that 37% of UK respondents said that they are ‘utterly sleep deprived’ right now. Because of the pandemic and the health and money worries it has brought with it, people are struggling to put their worries (and themselves) to bed.
Some of the worries keeping people up at night have to do with money, with 40% of respondents losing sleep over concern about their finances. Others include work (34%), family (24%), as well as anxieties about coronavirus more generally (27%).
This has resulted in people losing an average of two hours of sleep every night, meaning that many are ‘only managing to get a meagre six hours of sleep in’.
But a good night’s sleep is important, because without it we just don’t function properly. Getting a solid seven to eight hours sleep at night can improve our concentration during the day, reduce our feelings of stress, and help us to maintain our mental health in the long term.
The survey confirms this, with 48% of respondents saying ‘their brain felt noticeably sharper’ and 49% believing themselves to be ‘generally happier’ when they slept better.
Thankfully, there are ways of ensuring the pandemic doesn’t disrupt our sleeping patterns too much. In fact, even though people in the UK are struggling, many are also trying their best to sleep better.
The findings of the survey revealed that people have been trying out meditation or reading to relax before bed, as well as cutting out coffee later in the day, and sticking to an evening routine.
Music is another popular way of winding down at night, with 89% of people across the globe saying they felt that listening to calming music helped them to sleep.
All of these ways of improving sleep are backed by research and approved by the NHS, which includes sleeping at regular times and winding down effectively in its top tips for a good night’s sleep.
Other tips include making sure your bedroom is ‘sleep-friendly’, by keeping it ‘dark, quiet, and tidy’, and tracking your sleep either with a sleep diary or wearable tech. This can make it easier for an expert to diagnose a sleep problem, or ‘reveal underlying conditions that explain your insomnia’.
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