This is really important for our wellbeing and more relevant than ever. The new report on sleep published by the Mental Health Foundation identified that 25% of people noticed a decrease in their sleep quality during the pandemic – something many of us may be able to relate to. It is also important to notice that the people affected are also from specific backgrounds and in more challenging life situations (for instance, mothers with no access to childcare support during the lockdown).
In times of collective trauma like this one, it is especially important to remember the basics. So if you have a moment, I strongly recommend reading the full report to find out more about how sleep improves our wellbeing and what this recent research tells us about our quality of sleep at the moment. It’s a free, downloadable .pdf available online here and presented in a very accessible format.
I also really like the tips mentioned on the report release page here: we need to value, prioritise, personalise, trust and protect our sleep. As for technology, here are a few tips for me:
- Screens do not necessarily damage our health as such, but what we do on screens can be a distraction before going to bed, so be wise and stick to reading on Kindle instead of chatting to friends or that one difficult to manage family member. Maybe leave reading the news for the morning? Or maybe ask your Alexa or Google Home to play some smooth jazz?
- If you need to or want to keep your phone in the bedroom, can you use it to improve the quality of your sleep? Listen to calming music, relaxing audiobook (you can set up Audible up on a timer and fall asleep while listening), play a relaxing game (like Prune, Monument Valley or Loona). Whatever helps you slow down and calm down.
- If you have a stressful day or generally feel overwhelmed by the current events, it’s worth giving yourself a bit of time for an evening meditation – it is way easier than you think. Headspace app comes with a few free guided meditations you can use to calm your ruminating thoughts.
Now is not the time to blame screens and technology for our bad habits. Now we need to put our wellbeing first and make the technology work for us in the process. I hope both the report and those small tips will help.