As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, experts say it is harder for some people to fall asleep – so much so that researchers are calling it “COVID-Somnia”.
Clinical psychologist Maneet Bhatia says that people’s various stressors have gotten worse. In addition, the uncertainties of the future and our daily lives continue to weigh heavily and affect our mind and body.
According to Bhatia, COVID-Somnia can encompass everything from insomnia, insomnia, early waking, to unrefreshing sleep due to anxiety and stress.
These stressors have left numerous people unable to relax in order to have a restful sleep. According to Bhatia, this has often affected our ability to function efficiently both mentally and physically.
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To deal with COVID-Somnia, according to Bhatia, there are three things that people can work on: decompressing; Practice mindfulness; and allow time for worries.
To decompress, people should treat sleep as any other important part of our daily routine. For example, when creating a recipe, you spend time searching for ingredients and preparing your kitchen.
“(This) means that you are not having serious financial discussions, watching a horror movie, or … hearing things that are very disturbing and negatively stimulating (in the evening),” he said.
“Try to relax and ease your way into your sleep routine so that you are ready to fall asleep instead of working with 100 percent brain.”
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When it comes to practicing mindfulness, people often think about immersing themselves in meditation, but Bhatia says that there can actually be other simple and engaging practices that help relax the mind and body to relieve stress.
This includes listening to soothing music, reading a book, taking a bath, or even practicing breathing techniques, be it for a short or long period of time.
“(It’s about) putting aside all the phones and stimulants that activate our brains and focusing only on activities and practices that make us focus on the present.”
Bhatia adds that these practices don’t have to be complex and the point is to find specific moments to devote yourself to a relaxing hobby, to fulfill mindfulness during the day.
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Instead of lying in bed with numerous worries, according to Bhatia, there is a technique used in therapy to help people reduce their worrying habits at night. These are known as “worry time”.
According to Bhatia, allocating 20 to 30 minutes a day can help you worry about whatever they think about and avoid the habit of people’s mind racing before bed.
“When worry comes back, you can say, ‘I’ve already talked about it, dealt with it in my worry time and I have a plan and I’ll take care of it tomorrow. Now I have to go to bed, ‘said Bhatia.
Watch the full interview from Bhatia The morning show in the video above.