7 Things I Am Doing To Have A Great Sleep During Covid – and Always
I have found that recently, I have been sleeping really really well. Today I wanted to share what I have been doing as many people that I talk to continue to struggle with sleep issues. I have found that during the COVID pandemic, many people I talk to have been having even a tougher time getting a good night sleep than previously. I believe that many of these sleep issues are related to the stressful period that we are going through right now where many of us are uncertain about our future. In fact I read a study 2 weeks ago that suggested that 89% of the Canadian population have experienced an increase in stress and mental health issues during this time. This would include increased level of anxiety, depression, and stress to name a few. It is no wonder many of us are finding it more difficult to get a good restful sleep during this very uncertain and unprecedented time.
I have really tried to pay attention to my overall health during COVID as I wanted to ensure my immune system was super strong in case I was to get the virus. This would include focusing on the 4 Wheels of Health that I have blogged about in the past – Sleep, Movement, Food and Mental Well Being. In case you missed my blog that I wrote at the very beginning of the pandemic on the 10 Things I am Doing to Avoid COVID -19, you can access it here: https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/10-extra-measures-i-am-taking-to-avoid-covid-19/
In terms of my sleep, I have found that my sleep has actually really improved over the past 3 months so I wanted to share the things and actions that I have been doing differently to help me have an amazing sleep. The reason I am sharing this is that I hope that I can help you and your family have better sleep as it affects all other areas of our lives. When we don’t sleep well, we are more agitated or stressed, we often reach for more unhealthy “comfort” foods and often we avoid exercise simply because we are so tired. This is an example of how one “wheel” being out of balance (our sleep wheel) affects all other areas of our lives.
Here are the 7 actions that I am currently trying to do daily in order to have a great sleep.
1. Shut Down All Screens At Night
When the pandemic first hit, I found that I was on my computer doing virtual meetings and calls all day and then would continue on doing emails and other things on my computer in the evening. It seemed that I was never “off” and I was even checking my phone prior to going to sleep. It was no wonder that I was having a tough time getting to sleep as my brain and my body was still in “work mode”.
Very early on in the COVID period, I learned that this behaviour was not sustainable as it was really affecting all other areas of my life in a negative way. Therefore about 1 or 2 weeks into the pandemic, I made the decision to totally shut down all screens after dinner. I am finding that I am actually working more and longer hours right now than previous as I don’t have any commute or driving time which typically is an hour or two a day for me. However once 6:00 hits, I close my computer and physically leave my office and do not look at my computer until the next day. In addition, I turn off my phone and put it in my charger in the hall so I am not tempted to look at it during the evening at all.
I believe that shutting down the screens at night is the single most important thing anyone can do right now to have a great sleep. My theory is that even if I am on my computer or phone doing personal things (Instagram, searching the Web, writing my blog) my brain interprets this screen time as “work time” and puts mental stress on my system which affects my sleep.
2. Put Screens on “Night Mode” – Blue Blockers
I have written in the past about the negative affects of EMF’s on our brain and our bodies. One other thing I have done recently that I learned from Dr. Jeff Gladden (Apex Health) is to put all my screens on “night” mode even during the day. I find that during COVID I am spending pretty well all of my days on the computer either engaged in virtual meetings or doing emails which has resulted in a significant increase in my screen time. Therefore I have put my computer and phone on “night mode” setting all day long. I have found this to really help as well as it is not only easier on my eyes but also reduces the harmful rays that our screens give off. In addition, I just ordered a pair of “Blue Blocker” glasses that I intend on wearing all day long as further protection from harmful EMF rays. If you missed my blog on the 6 things I do to avoid EMF’s, you can access it here:http://6 things I do to avoid EMF’s
3. Timing of Last Meal
One of the biggest energy expenditures that our body has to deal with on a daily basis is digesting the foods that we consume. This is one of the main reasons for the recent popularity of Fasting or Intermittent Fasting as it gives our body a break from having to digest our food. During COVID I have been trying to have my last big meal of the day (dinner) between 6 and 7 p.m. I also then do not consume any food (most evenings) for the rest of the evening. This allows my body to digest my dinner well before bed time so that my body does not need to expend energy digesting my food while I sleep. I believe that this practice is another reason that I am sleeping so well these days. In addition, If I don’t eat breakfast until 7a.m. or 8 a.m. the next morning, I am giving my body a minimum 12 hour window of fasting which has many health benefits. I believe that not only does this practice help me sleep better but also gives me much more energy the next day.
4. Magnesium Before Bed
If you have read my prior blogs on my Pre-Bed Routine, you know that Magnesium is one of the staples that I include every night. Our body does not manufacture Magnesium therefore it is important that we supplement with it. Magnesium relaxes our body and puts our muscles in a relaxed state that allows us to fall a sleep very easy. If you workout or exercise, it is even more important that you supplement with Magnesium. I typically take 2 Magnesium tablets as well as 2 ZMA’a (Zinc/Magnesium) about 30 minutes prior to going to bed.
It has been proven that the consumption of alcohol disrupts our sleep patterns. At the beginning of COVID, I made the decision to totally eliminate alcohol as I wanted to ensure my Immune system was as strong as possible in order to help me recover from COVID should I catch it. I decided to extend this for 3 months (April, May and June) in order to continue to build my immunity and overall health. I believe eliminating alcohol has really helped my overall sleep. It has been shown that alcohol disrupts our REM and deep sleep which is vital for our bodies recovery and well being.
6. Cold Shower
During COVID-19, I have continued my daily routine of having a Cold Shower every single day. I believe that this daily practice not only provides me with amazing energy all day long, but also helps me in my sleep routine. If you missed my blog on the benefits of a Cold Shower, you can access it here:https://kevinbradyhealth.ca/a-cold-shower-every-day-will-change-your-life/
I believe one of the most important things you can do in order to have a great sleep is have your own evening routine. I find that when I follow my typically “pre sleep” routine that I have an amazing, deep, restful sleep. The routine that I personally follow to ensure I have a great sleep is as follows:
1.No screens(computer or phone) or work in the evening
2.Magnesium(see above) 30 minutes prior to bed
3.Nighty Night tea prior to falling asleep
4.Read in bed prior to falling asleep
5.Positive Focus thoughts on the day
I find that when I put into practice these steps that I have an amazing sleep.
How Do I Know I sleeping well?
You may ask how I know that I am sleeping well? First and foremost, when I wake up in the morning I feel well rested and have great energy. On occasion when I do wake up during the night, I find that I generally get right back to sleep with no issues. In addition I track my sleep (as well as workout activity, stress levels) through a tracker called Whoop. I have used this tool since 2017 and find it is a great way to track my sleep amongst other things. During COVID and by ensuring I have been following all the sleep “hacks” outlined in this blog, I have been monitoring my sleep and it has been amazing over the past 3 months.
So there you have it. For your own great sleep I would suggest that you put in the following practices:
1.Shut Down All Screens At Night
2.Put Screens On “Night Mode” during day
3.Eat last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime
4.Take Magnesium nightly
6.Have your daily Cold Shower
7.Have your own “Pre Bed” routine
Wishing you and your family all the very best in health and happiness,