Are your thoughts revolving around the Ukraine war, rising food prices, the ongoing pandemic? This can be particularly stressful in the evening and lead to sleep disorders. Sleep expert Hans-Günter Weeß explains how you can still get enough good sleep.
The worries in times of global crisis can lead to severe mental stress and sleep disorders. According to studies, sleep disorders have increased by ten to 60 percent due to the corona pandemic alone. Reliable figures are not yet available on the effects of the Ukraine war, but a further increase in insomnia can be assumed.
Hans-Günter Weeß has been dealing with the topics of sleep and sleep disorders for more than 25 years. He is a board member of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine and head of the interdisciplinary sleep center at the Pfalzklinikum Klingenmünster. Weeß has written several books on the subject of sleep, including “Sleep Works Miracles” and “The Sleepless Society”Sleep. He also developed the online program “Fit through healthy sleep”.
In times of crisis, it is particularly important to ensure that you get enough deep and sound sleep. Because sleep is the most important regeneration and repair program in humans. It protects against cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, promotes mental health, supports memory and ensures good decision-making skills.
Decision-makers in politics and business should have slept enough to make far-reaching decisions during the crisis. And very important to know in times of a pandemic: Deep and sound sleep strengthens the immune system and the body’s defences.
What can you do to leave the sleep-inhibiting tension, worries and hardships associated with the global crisis at the bedroom door in the evening and to create the sleep-promoting relaxation in your bed?
During the day you should introduce new routines that are good for you. Eat healthily, exercise, introduce walks outside and also make sure you get enough rest.
Stay in contact with friends and relatives, because social contacts have a relaxing effect. Those who manage to remain calm and relaxed during the day despite the challenges of the crisis increase the likelihood of a relaxed night.
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Pay attention to the correct behavior in the evening. Only find out about the current status of the crises from credible sources of information. Avoid excessive media use. Do not flip through the individual news programs and talk shows about the crisis situation.
Consciously set a time limit for television and social media. The constant preoccupation with the current crisis and waiting for new news increases the psychological stress and the sleep-preventing tension. In addition, LED screens suppress the formation of the sleep hormone melatonin and can also make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Late and heavy meals, alcohol, napping in front of the TV, bright lights, and exercising just before bed are also not good sleep guides. In addition to the right behavior in the evening, the right inner attitude is also essential for sleep.
Introduce a bedtime ritual in the evening: consciously end the day and say goodbye to current stresses in good time. For this it can be helpful to talk or write about things that are burdensome to get off your soul. Talk to your partner or friends again on the phone or write down your worries and needs on a piece of paper or in a diary.
It is important that you then turn your attention to the beautiful things in life. Dedicate yourself to your hobby or read a good book. Anyone who digs out the fairy tale books from childhood not only distracts themselves from stressful thoughts, but also activates the feelings of safety and security known from childhood, which we could often experience when reading to our parents in the evening. The same applies to fairy tale cassettes from childhood or relaxed audio books.
Think of the positive things in your life, remember a nice holiday, nice encounters with loved ones or take a walk along your favorite path in your mind. It is good if you use all your senses. How does the forest floor feel under your feet or the wind on your face, what color are the flowers by the wayside and how does it smell, for example, with the farmer at the edge of the forest?
In this way, the brain does not come up with stupid ideas so easily by turning to the stresses of everyday life again. How to roll out the red carpet for sleep!
Relaxation exercises, such as autogenic training or yoga, can also induce sleep-promoting relaxation. All of these measures are suitable for stopping the nocturnal merry-go-round of thoughts and promoting a deep and sound sleep.
It is important that you leave the big and small worries of everyday life outside the bedroom door. Your bedroom should be an oasis of well-being where you go on vacation eight hours out of 24.
If, despite all the above measures, you do not manage to break free from everyday life in bed and your thoughts continue to spin, get up and leave the bedroom. Outside the bedroom, you can ponder until the relaxation that promotes sleep sets in again.
It can also be helpful to banish the alarm clock from sight and stop looking at the clock at night. Whoever tosses and turns in bed, pulls the duvet up and down, fights with his pillow and struggles to sleep creates a sleep-preventing tension. Tension is the enemy of sleep.