This past year has upended many aspects of our day-to-day life, from our work to our routines of seeing friends and family on a regular basis. The uncertainty and stress, along with constantly changing news, has caused the anxiety of this past year to manifest itself in different ways for many of us. From increased online shopping to late-night doom-scrolling, many people have been unprepared to live in an extended period of trauma.
One of the ways that this uncertainty has manifested itself is anxiety-induced insomnia, especially for those that have never had sleeping issues before. This phenomenon, also known as “Coronasomnia,” is the persistence of sleep issues (such as trouble staying asleep or falling asleep) due to pandemic-related stressors. This includes everything that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered, including:
- The safety of loved ones
- Job security
- Financial security
- Your own health and safety
Loss of sleep, especially due to anxiety-related factors, can further disrupt areas of your life. Fatigue and disrupted sleep schedules can impact workplace productivity, and can lead to increased feelings of depression.
Though there’s no cure for anxiety or anxiety-related insomnia, there are a number of things you can do to try and get a handle on your sleeping habits to hopefully alleviate your anxiety symptoms at bedtime. Committing to healthy bedtime habits can help you get into a routine for bedtime, that will hopefully keep anxiety at bay and let your body know it’s time for sleep.
Here are a few ways you can prioritize sleep to keep coronasomnia away when you should be catching some zzz’s.
1. Read, Don’t Tweet
This is for the people that pop onto Twitter or Instagram “just for five minutes” then end up scrolling away for three hours. We all know that blue light has harmful effects on our eyes and can make it hard for us to sleep, so fight the temptation entirely and grab a book instead of your phone. Reading is a great way to relax at the end of the day and lets your brain gradually shut down and get ready for bed.
If you need another hobby or something cute to remind you to read, try a coloring page bookmark to relax you at the end of a long day and give you something to look forward to every time you open your book.
2. Move Your Body
It may sound cliché, but it’s true — moving your body and/or stretching before bed can help tucker you out for the day, as well as help you get better sleep altogether. If you’re the type that gets hyper or more energized after working out in the evening, try shifting it to working out earlier in the day, or just by doing a few stretches before getting in bed for the night.
3. Stay Away from Alcohol and Caffeine
Especially in times of uncertainty, it can be easy to turn to a little liquid courage to ease our minds and take some of the weight off our shoulders, leading to a bad case of coronasomnia. Avoiding caffeine is a no-brainer, as this gives you energy (which is likely the last thing you want if you’ve been having some sleep issues). While alcohol can make you sleepy, it’s also been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.
If you want something besides water before bed, try a calming cup of Sleepytime herbal tea with no caffeine. To spice it up, you can add some printable “positivi-tea” labels to the end of your tea bag so you’re greeted with a happy reminder every time you take a sip.
4. Write It Out
Stress and anxiety can eat you alive, and keeping it all bottled up is one of the worst things you can do. If you find your mind racing and heart pounding when you should be counting sheep, you may want to think about journaling each night before bed. Studies have shown that journaling can be good for mental health, as you’re no longer keeping everything inside that’s causing you stress or anxiety.
Try looking up some journaling prompts if you don’t know where to start, and if you want to try it out before buying a journal and committing try some printable bedtime journal sheets. These can be printed as many times as you need, so grab a pen and start writing — you may be surprised how much better you feel when you can get all your thoughts on paper instead of leaving them trapped inside your head.
Sleep issues are no joke, especially during such a turbulent time as the one we’re in. Through prioritizing your mental health and doing what you can to get into a sleep routine, you’re doing the best thing for you to keep sleep issues or coronasomnia at bay.
Emily Borst is a digital content creator who creates compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in writing has helped her cover unique topics, including sharing her passion for health and wellness. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and eating her way through Austin, Texas.