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The pandemic is disturbing our sleep… but help is at hand

Nearly two-thirds of the UK public say the Covid-19 crisis has had some negative impact on their sleep, according to new research from King’s College London and IPSOS Mori.

The study, based on 2,254 interviews at the end of May, found that disturbances were more common among those worried about their financial circumstances. Two in five experienced more vivid dreams than usual.

Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the policy institute at King’s College London, said the research clearly shows just how unsettling the pandemic and lockdown measures have been for a very large proportion of us.

He added: “As with so much about Covid-19, the crisis is affecting people very differently depending on their circumstances and that includes the most fundamental aspects of life, such as sleep.”

As the researchers point out, good quality sleep is important for maintaining our physical and mental health. In addition, poor quality sleep can cause stress, which can create a negative cycle that is difficult to break.

Fortunately, help is at hand with some simple steps to enhance our sleeping habits. By identifying and changing thoughts and behaviours, we can influence our ability to get a good night’s sleep.

A sleep journal is a great starting point. Documenting sleeping and waking patterns can help us understand potential causes of sleeplessness and make the necessary adjustments to our lifestyle. It can also help doctors diagnose any underlying problems.

Each of us can improve what we call sleep hygiene. This can include keeping routine hours; creating a restful environment; making a comfortable bed; exercising on a regular basis; cutting down on caffeine and nicotine; avoiding overeating and drinking; finding relaxing things to do and getting up if we can’t fall asleep.

We have the ability to control many of these factors, which help us create the right conditions for good quality sleep. Of course, success doesn’t come overnight but working on good habits can make all the difference. Don’t give up!

My Possible Self can give you a helping hand. Our current content covers how sleep can affect anxiety, low mood and stress. We are developing exclusive new content specifically design to support our users in getting a good night’s sleep.

The My Possible Self Team