Why Am I So Tired During Lockdown?
Well, 2020 has been a somber year for most of us. Ok, who am I kidding? It’s been pretty terrible, and now many countries are facing a second lockdown right before the holiday season. As many go back to working 5 days a week from home and readjusting again to numerous hours spent at the same location, what have we learned thus far about proper sleep etiquette while in lockdown? Since the summer, there have been countless reports of people feeling more tired and groggy while working from home. Thanks to research and our sleep experts here at Emma, we have complied a list of tips and habits to avoid that will ensure that you keep getting quality sleep even if your work routine is constantly changing.
Before heading right into the tips, let’s investigate what people are saying has changed in their lives since lockdown as it relates to sleep. All of these problems can be linked to “sleep inertia,” or when the body is still in a transitional state of being asleep and being awake.
- An increase in clumsiness – Maybe you are dropping all your pens or breaking plates on a more frequent basis. Perhaps you are making more mistakes in your work than you would have in the past. Or maybe you keep tripping on the same magenta carpet runner even though you’ve told yourself for years that you would replace it, but nevertheless here it stays…
- Constantly distracted – This is a big one for me to be quite honest. I am one of those people who will be in the midst of writing an extraordinary article and then a bird flies by my window and suddenly I’m— “Where did it go? What kind of bird was that? I wish I was a bird…” Then I’ve lost fifteen minutes because of a pigeon.
- In a state of confusion – Are you finding it hard to remember things? Have you forgotten appointments that you would have never forgotten before? Sometimes even speaking with confidence and clarity is a chore. One time I called my boss by my boyfriend’s name, and well, it was awkward…
All of these conditions can cause many problems for us when working from home while still having to meet deadlines and host virtual meetings. Sleep inertia can last anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour, and for some people it can last several hours. This is why it is so important for us to take action to minimize our fatigue, so that we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to be productive.
Step One: Go Outside
Make sure you are going outside at least a few times a day when it is possible. The reason for this is because sunlight helps regulate our bodies. When it is light outside and we are exposed to the sun’s rays, our bodies naturally wake up and feel more alert. It also suppresses the release of melatonin which is the natural hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Likewise, when we are not exposed to sunlight as well as in the evening hours, the body starts to wind down and release melatonin. You can read more about this in our Daylight Savings blog post if you want to know more about sunlight and its effects on sleep. More often than not, people are spending way more time inside without going outside except for occasional trips to the supermarket and pharmacy. It would be wise to increase the frequency of going outside and combine it with some physical activity like jogging or just taking a walk around the neighborhood.
Step Two: Don’t Break the Routine
It can be really tempting to stay up until 2am watching The X Factor or the latest Netflix show, but remember that you would not normally do that during the work week so why are you doing it because you are working from home now? It is important for us to keep our schedules the same, so our bodies fall into the natural rhythm of feeling sleepy in the evenings and sleeping through the night. There is nothing worse than falling into that vampire mode of being wide awake at night and exhausted throughout the day. If you do find yourself unable to sleep during the night, get out of bed for a bit a do a simple task like washing dishes or reading to help ease your mind back into rest mode. Lastly, (and I know you’re going to hate it) don’t hit the snooze. Ok maybe one time but if you had a bad night of sleep, it’s better to make it through the day tired than trying to get an extra hour or two, which throws off our sleep routine. If you need a mid-day nap, then take around 20 minutes to recharge but no longer.
Step Three: Prepare Your Bedroom
Have a bedroom ritual yet? If not, you can read our blog post about nighttime routines to get an in depth understanding of how they can benefit your sleep. Basically, you want to optimize your bedroom for falling asleep. Make sure the temperature is exactly how you want it, preferably a little cool but not freezing. Have clean sheets on the bed and things put away in their correct stations. You don’t want to fall asleep in chaos but to an orderly, relaxing environment. If you like to fall asleep with white noise or quiet instrumental music, then go ahead and play our Sleepy Dreams playlist on Spotify. Have your windows closed and your shutters or blinds pulled so the sunlight does not wake you too early. All this preparation will help your body settle down when you finally hit the sheets and ease you into a relaxing slumber.
Step Four: Do Something Relaxing Before Bed
We also wrote a whole article on how to relax yourself during these trying times. You want to find something that works best for you. That might be yoga, reading, meditation, video games, or watching TV. Only you can know what will really calm you down and get you into your sleep state. We suggest that you start your relaxing activity at least an hour before you want to be asleep. Also make sure that you aren’t relying upon alcohol or sleep tablets to make you feel sleepy. Alcohol has been proven to reduce quality sleep and leave you feeling worse in the morning. Tablets can also make you become dependent on chemicals to get to sleep, and over time your body will become somewhat immune to the dosage. If you are having serious problems with sleep deprivation, then please consult your physician to get a professional opinion.
We hope you learned something from this blog post and that you can use it to make your life in lockdown a little easier. Remember that you aren’t alone out there and that millions of others are having to deal with these drastic changes. Make sure you give yourself a break from time to time and take care of yourself. Stay healthy and sleep tight!