Sleep specialist shares some tips on getting better rest
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has left the world scrambling for answers. As healthcare professionals look for answers, Dr. Michael Breus says it’s vital to remember the important role sleep plays in building our immune systems.
Dr. Breus’ Seven steps to Get a Good Nights Sleep- During a Pandemic:
1) Give yourself an electronic curfew of 90 min prior to lights out: this means a ‘media diet’ before bed (you need time to relax and destress). Remove blue light by wearing blue light blocking glasses, it will help you wind down before bed and help your body produce melatonin on the proper schedule.
2) Consider meditation or progressive relaxation before bed or while falling asleep.
3) Compile a gratitude list in your mind (while lying in bed, in the dark): Many people think stressful thoughts as they fall asleep (which makes sense it’s the first time all day you get to think by yourself), but that causes increases in our fight or flight hormones. Thinking less stressful or positive thoughts can help reduce stressful feelings and help with sleep (improves deep sleep and encourages more positive dreams).
4) Keep your schedule consistent: the more consistent your wake-up time, the more consistent your overall body function. Avoid extra napping if you are home bound-it will only disrupt your nighttime sleep.
5) Lower stimulants and depressants: caffeine and alcohol- if you are already stressed out, adding caffeine to the mix is NOT a great idea, it will only increase the unwanted side effects. Alcohol, while making you feel sleepy, does NOT allow for quality rest, which in turn will make you feel even more stressed if you have a hangover the next day. It also makes you less able to fight a virus.
6) Take a Hot Shower or Bath 90 minutes before bed: wash off all those germs and increase your core body temperature. Your body temperature will decrease once you get out of the tub and help produce melatonin naturally.
7) Make sure your environment is clean: If possible, use HEPA filtration for your bedroom air. Wash sheets 2x a week (in HOT water), try to do an overall deep cleaning of your bedroom, you will be spending a lot of time there!
Michael Breus PhD is a Board certified Sleep Specialist and living in Manhattan Beach CA. Author of three bestselling books, Good Night: The Sleep Doctors 4-week program to Better Sleep and Better Health, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep, The Power of When: Discover your Chronotype.