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Our Tips for Managing your Sleep During Lockdown

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic and the societal consequences of confinement at home, we have been exposed to more stress, worry, fear, and even depression. Being forced to stay at home, work from home with our children around, significantly reducing our outings, social interactions, or working more in stressful circumstances, and managing the health risks associated with the epidemic can have a major impact on our daily mood and obviously the quality of our sleep. However, in this period of uncertainties, sleep is our ally, and it is essential to pay particular attention to it.

During periods of stress, it is entirely normal to experience sleep problems. Stress is often accompanied by incessant and worrying thoughts that can make it difficult to fall asleep or cause nocturnal awakenings. Additionally, stress can lead to an increase in the production of cortisol, a hormone that stimulates the body and mind, which can make it difficult to relax enough to fall asleep. Physical symptoms of stress, such as heart palpitations, headaches, and muscle aches, can also disrupt sleep.

It is important to note that sleep problems related to stress are generally temporary and disappear once the source of stress is effectively treated or managed. However, it is important to take steps to improve the quality of sleep during periods of stress, as insufficient sleep can exacerbate stress and cause a negative spiral.

The negative impact of lockdown on our sleep

The circadian rhythm, which is governed by daylight, meal times, and physical exercise, plays a key role in our sleep. Exposure to bright light during the day promotes the release of melatonin at night, an important hormone for inducing sleep. Physical activity levels during the day are also a crucial factor for a good night's sleep. Too high levels of activity, such as those induced by stress or work overload, can have a negative impact on our sleep, as can too low levels of activity, due to, for example, a decrease in morale.

Sleep problems related to stress are common, and those who are sensitive to these sleep disturbances are more likely to develop chronic insomnia during the confinement period.

On the other hand, regular physical activity during the day can improve the quality of our sleep, as long as it is not practiced late in the evening. By taking care of our circadian rhythm and physical activity level, we can thus promote restful sleep and reduce the impact of stress on our sleep.

Adjust your sleep habits during lockdown

Here are some tips for protecting your sleep during this difficult time:

  • Take advantage of this period to closely monitor your natural sleep rhythm (at least 7 to 8 hours per night). It is also an opportunity to adapt your sleep to your natural circadian preferences (for example, a sleep-wake rhythm that is earlier or later than usual, especially for teenagers and the elderly).

  • Keep regular bed and wake times to bring some structure to the day, especially for children. Establish a bedtime routine, such as familiar and relaxing activities (reading, meditation, relaxing music, yoga, etc.)

  • Avoid checking various media, especially epidemic-related news, at bedtime.

  • Expose yourself to natural daylight as much as possible during the day, especially in the morning. If not possible, illuminate your home during the day by opening curtains and blinds or turning on the lights in your home.

  • For quality sleep, adopt or maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you are less active during the day than usual, eat less at fixed times, and no later than two hours before going to bed to avoid sleep disturbance. Avoid or limit consumption of alcohol, stimulants (coffee, tea, energy drinks, and nicotine), exposure to anxiety-provoking content, and heavy, fatty or spicy meals before going to bed. Finally, avoid planning your activities for the next day just before bedtime.

  • Make your home and especially your bedroom a secure and comfortable environment: quiet, cool, and dimly lit, or even dark for the evening. Avoid using the phone or tablet in the bedroom; if possible, turn them off before going to bed to reduce sleep disturbance due to exposure to light, notifications, and the need to respond to demands and messages. Finally, consider your bed only for sleeping or intimate activities.

  • Exercise regularly, preferably during the day. Find useful distractions (organizing, tinkering, etc.) or activities you know and love to do.

  • Schedule short periods (10-15 minutes) during the day to feel things, emphasize, and reflect on the situation: write down your thoughts, talk about stress, etc.

  • Do not hesitate to use social media to share your fears with your family and friends, but also to share positive, distracting, and funny information, possibly unrelated to the epidemic.


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