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How to Sleep During Stressful Times

You’ve seen the memes for 2020: The year started out with a lot of positive energy, in part because it was seen as a fresh start, a clean state, the precursor to a new decade. And then came the novel coronavirus, which has arguably affected many of our fellow citizens of the world in sudden, tragic, and horrible ways. For the rest of us, the mere uncertainty of what lies ahead has shaken us to our core. We may try to keep a brave face for the sake of those quarantined with us, but in our hearts we struggle. 

One of the first things to go during a time of crisis is a good night’s sleep. It’s ironic that a good night’s sleep is precisely one of the things that would help us deal with stressful situations. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions to help you get a good night’s sleep. As with all health and wellness advice, check with your doctor before taking supplements and medications and before starting a new exercise routine.

The Herbs to Help You Keep Calm and Carry On

The following herbs are known for their powers of relaxation: lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower, ashwagandha, and more. There are any number of herbal, non-caffeinated teas intended for nighttime. Drinking a relaxing tea might help you get a leg up on the struggle to simply fall asleep. Hemp tablets are another herbal remedy that may help you relax and fall asleep. Aside from teas and hemp tablets, you may consider taking a valerian root or melatonin supplement.

Read Fiction Before Bed to Zone Out…

There’s nothing like a John Grisham, Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, Steven King, Danielle Steele, Dan Brown, or any other page-turning author to help tuck you in at night. Instead of watching the TV or laptop screen until you’re ready to try to sleep, separate yourself from your electronic devices and read an old-fashioned paperback. It will do wonders to distract your mind, and it’s common to become drowsy while reading in bed. Another benefit to reading a book is that it helps you avoid screen exposure, which has been shown to hinder sleep. (If you need help finding a book, here is Penguin Random House’s list of the Best Thrillers of All Time.)

…Or Revisit Childhood with Bedtime Stories

Don’t have anyone to read you a bedtime story to help you fall asleep? Or maybe you fell asleep just fine, but it’s now three in the morning and you’re wide awake? There’s an app for that! Here’s a short list: Calm, Pzizz, Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories, and Headspace. Some of these apps also include guided meditations, which brings us to our next suggestion:

Practice Mindfulness to Relax

In addition to the above-mentioned bedtime-story apps, there are other apps to help you practice mindfulness with guided meditations. Such a practice is likely to help you cope with the uncertainty and stress. In fact, some meditation apps are sending out daily live meditation sessions specifically designed to help deal with stress in the time of the coronavirus. One of those apps is called “10% Happier.”

Moderate Exercise to Make Sure You Get Sleepy

It can be tempting to spend most of the day on the couch, but in order to feel like sleeping at night it can help to exercise during the day. Many of the geographical areas with shelter-in-place restrictions have still allowed people to go outside to walk, run, or ride a bike, provided social distancing was observed. Taking advantage of these opportunities can add to your quality of life and potentially help you rest.

In closing, remember that we are going through this time of uncertainty collectively. Try to keep as much human contact as possible – via text, phone, and video chat – and stay optimistic. 

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