If you’re like many folks, you’re probably still suffering from sleep problems that began during the coronavirus lockdowns.
And who could blame you?
The constantly changing numbers…the endless flip-flopping on masks…“the rules”…and the isolation of social distancing are enough to keep anyone up at night.
That’s why, today, I’m going to share with you an interesting new study that sheds more light on exactly HOW the pandemic has impacted our sleep.
Then, I’ll give you a few sensible, drug-free ways to get your sleep routine back on track in a fast-paced, post-pandemic world…
40 percent of people say they slept “worse” during the pandemic
For this new study, the researchers divided their work into two legs…
First, they surveyed more than 2,000 middle-aged men and women who lived in 49 different countries worldwide about their sleep habits from late March to April 2020—when the pandemic panic was getting into full uproar.
Then, the second leg of the study involved just about 1,000 men and women, who were U.S. residents.
The researchers recruited these subjects to participate in the survey without mentioning sleep—to avoid a selection bias. (Because participants who may have willingly chosen to participate in a sleep survey may have already had more sleep concerns or problems.)
The survey asked participants about their:
- Sleep duration
- Pre-existing sleeping problems
- Sleep satisfaction
- Changes in sleep quality due to the pandemic and their nature
- Sleeping pill consumption
- Dream patterns
It turns out, about 40 percent of both groups said their sleep got “worse” during the survey period. That’s about twice as high as normal, according to some experts.
Those who were more likely to experience sleep problems included:
- People whose jobs were affected by the pandemic, especially those who worked in healthcare
- Those in physical lockdowns (quarantining)
- Those who experienced a decrease in physical activity
Plus, out of those who said their sleep worsened:
- 83 percent complained of insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep)
- 83 percent complained of changes to their circadian rhythms (falling asleep at a later-than-usual time and waking up earlier or later than a desired time)
- 60 percent complained of dysfunction (sleepiness during the day)
Interestingly, while participants in both groups reported sleeping for longer stretches of time during the pandemic (about an extra 30 minutes), they also experienced less continuous sleep, free from interruptions. They also reported increases in the use of sleeping pills.
In the end, this study provides some hard data about what many of us experienced during the lockdown. And it certainly supports everything I’ve said about how engaging in some physical activity and having regular social interactions helps support your general health and well-being. Including your sleep!
So, as the constantly changing restrictions in most parts of the country remain lifted (for now), I urge you to get back to some healthy routines. In terms of exercise, aim to get 2.5 hours per week of light-to-moderate physical activity. And remember, yardwork and housework both count toward your weekly total. So does a daily walk outside in Nature!
You should also strive to reconnect with your social circles—and even build new ones. It just may help your sleep return back to “normal.”
Lastly, for anyone still struggling to get their sleep back on track, I suggest giving the ancient practice of aromatherapy a try. It works right in the brain to help you fall asleep and stay asleep…
Ancient therapy helps you catch some ZZZs
Aromatherapy has been effectively used for thousands of years to treat a number of ailments—including depression, high blood pressure, and migraines. And it’s finally starting to get the attention it deserves from the scientific community. Especially when it comes to treating insomnia and stress…
The practice involves applying essential plant oils (the same kinds of oils used to make fragrances) directly to your skin or inhaling them through a mist diffuser.
Applying the oils directly to your skin allows them to travel to your brain in two ways…
First, you’ll inhale some through your nose. And the upper nasal passages connect directly into the olfactory centers at the front of the brain. Second, you’ll absorb the oils through your skin, where they enter your bloodstream and travel to the brain.
When the plant compounds in the oils reach your brain, they signal you to relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep.
If you choose this method, apply a few drops of the oils directly to your skin at these spots:
- under your nose
- on the sides of your nose
- under your chin
- at the base your ear lobes
- under your jaw
And as I often report, research shows these plant oils are the most effective for supporting sleep:
I personally like to apply a combination of all of these oils, blended with vitamin E in organic coconut and eucalyptus oil, directly onto my skin shortly before, or right at, bedtime. You can also apply them any time during the day to promote calm and relaxation!
To learn about how to get the best sleep of your life without resorting to pills, check out the March 2021 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“My ultimate guide to getting a good night’s sleep—naturally”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.
“Escalation of sleep disturbances amid the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional international study.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 2021; 17 (1): 45-53. doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.8800