During the coronavirus crisis I know many of my clients and friends are struggling with sleep during lockdown.
It’s not surprising, we are facing a major crisis, and the outcome is far from certain. As well as the anxiety and fear, there is a change of routine and loss of income for many.
One of the main physical changes that can interfere with our sleep during the social distancing and isolation is that we are having to stay inside more than before.
The circadian clock
As humans, we have a circadian clock in our bodies that maintains our night and day. And there is a master clock that controls all the other wake and sleep cycle.
However, there’s little clocks all around the body in each of the cells as well peripheral clocks that help that take cues from our behaviour.
So when we eat, when we exercise, when we see light, create cues which send messages back to our brain about when it’s day when it’s night.
Our cells have their own clock, when it’s optimal for them to do their work.
These messages can get really confused when we stay up late into the night, eat at night, or stay away from daylight during the daytime.
So, when trying to keep a sense of routine is really important.
Daylight during the daytime
Maybe you’re not taking the school kids on the school run anymore, or cycling to work.
One of the things I really am missing the most is my walk to school with the kids morning and afternoon. It helped to break up my day, and create a start point between home and work life, whilst working at home.
I found really beneficial for just burning off a little bit of stress and exercising generally.
How daylight helps sleep
The daylight hits your eyes, which is giving your body a signal that it’s morning it’s time to get up. What is happening in the brain is daylight stops the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone.
The light from the sun, even on a cloudy day has greater LUX than our electronic lights inside the house can.
I talk to my 1:1 clients about trying to build our sleep from the moment we get up until the end of the day.
Maybe you’re struggling with your sleep during lockdown now, I know lots of people are.
Build your sleep from morning
It’s really important to try and create habits which reinforce our natural wake / sleep cycle throughout the day, it’s not just about winding down at the end of the day.
- Getting out into the daylight as much as possible. If you’ve got a garden, and just get out there. We’re so lucky this week has been lovely weather and it’s a great opportunity to get out. Obviously we are allowed to go out for one walk a day or a cycle, that can be useful if you are not isolating and you are allowed to get back to exercising.
- Exercising and moving our bodies more generally, is also really important for keeping our metabolism, moving. I’ve previously written about research that shows that if we’re sedentary but we just do one class one exercise class like go to Zumba or CrossFit that is not as good for your body as just generally moving throughout the day, just moving your body regularly.
For example, set yourself a target of 100 squats in a day and just break them into sets of 10 throughout the day. Do 10 squats every time you go into the kitchen, then in the end of the day you’ve done 100 squats.
I hope this will help you build better sleep during lockdown. If you want more support with your health, contact me for a diet review and personalised nutrition recommendations.
Your Action Points – Build your sleep
You can improve your sleep by focusing on it from the morning and throughout the day. My quick tips for looking after your sleep during lockdown are:
- Get outside, to help your body register daylight, in the morning if possible.
- Get as much exposure to daylight during the day as you can.
- Move your body as much as you can during the day. Set mini targets. Move each hour.
Also read previous sleep blogs – https://www.goodnessme-nutrition.com/gut-health/your-sleep-gut-health/
Hi I'm Anna Mapson, registered Nutritionist (mBANT, CNHC). I specialise in all things ‘digestive health’ and I help people with their IBS symptoms.
I can help you to:
- track your symptoms in a really simple but meaningful way to understand them better
- rebalance your digestive system
- access group support to make long lasting changes to your digestive health
“Anna is amazing! I feel totally transformed"
To find more about out how I work and how I’ve helped people just like you, see my IBS Diet support page