Christine Webber on how to sleep more


How do you sleep Better, I hope.

At the start of last summer, I wrote about the disturbances many of us were experiencing with our sleep due to anxiety over the virus. Well, that was a long time ago. Since then, most of the people who read this column have been vaccinated twice and we are now starting to gradually return to a more normal life.

So, I was quite surprised when speaking to a woman I know – someone who is struggling with an illness that can, very sadly, kill her – to learn that her consultant had dismissed her complaints about insomnia. as a pandemic problem.

“We are all sleeping badly now,” he said.

But in fact, this is not true. I’ve interviewed friends, family, clients and co-workers, and the picture that emerges from these conversations is that for many of us, sleep patterns are starting to revert to what they were before. the coronavirus does not strike.

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And in fact, this is what you expect.

Usually, reliable sleep abandons us when we are more anxious than usual or feel threatened. Normally, this can be due to a boss bullying. Or about our fears of not coping at work. Or when a relationship seems to fail and we fear ending up alone. And, as so many readers know, reliable sleep goes out the window for young mothers, but also for caregivers of critically ill partners, because in either case, nature is doing its best to keep them constantly vigilant. .

So there will always be people with complex situations that interfere with their sleep, but the good news is that there is reason to be optimistic among those of us whose insomnia has been induced by the pandemic. .

There are a number of factors here. Obviously, the virus is no longer new, and we have gotten used to it. Vaccination has changed the threat level; we know that we can still catch it even if we are doubly vaxxed, but we also know that it is unlikely that we will catch it badly or die from it. In addition, we adapt to the idea that we have to learn to live with it. Covid-19 is the new flu. And I guess not many people have lost sleep over the possibility of succumbing to the flu.

So our state of mind has changed, and that’s probably why many of us sleep better.

But what if you’re not? What if, despite everything, your nights continued to be restless and unsatisfying. If so, maybe you should revisit where you went wrong.

Here are some thoughts to help you.

  • Try to get thirty minutes of exercise almost every day.

  • Don’t watch complicated and scary TV programs before bed; try some comedy or music for the last half hour of the day.

  • Do what your grandmother did; end the evening with a hot milky drink and a hot bath.

  • Try not to take a nap during the day, even if you are tired; better save your fatigue for the night.

  • Try not to panic if you wake up early. Many of us have spent months never getting enough sleep. And we got used to believing that when we woke up there was no hope of sleeping. And of course, the more we thought this way, the more it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. But many people who have experienced this phenomenon have found that they may have changed it recently. A friend told me that she has a new routine when she wakes up too early. She goes to the bathroom, then goes back to bed, rearranges her pillows and turns on the radio but keeps the volume low. Then she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath and does her best to relax. She says she was able to fall back to sleep several times, up to an hour at a time.

  • Don’t think of decaffeinated drinks, peppermint, fruit, or chamomile teas as watery or unmanly. I know a lot of men who swear caffeine doesn’t affect them and regularly indulge in strong coffee at the end of a late-night meal. But I also know that many of them have periods of disturbed sleep. If this sounds like you, why not try the alternatives every now and then and see if they make a difference?

  • Make sure your room is as dark as possible. If needed, invest in blackout blinds or curtains.

There is no guarantee for any of us that we will be sleeping soundly all the time, and we shouldn’t get upset if we spend a few nights here and there when things aren’t going well. But most of us can improve our chances of getting a better night’s sleep by making simple changes. And we should, because few things in life comfort us more than good quality restful sleep.

As always, Avon’s bard hit the nail on the head. He called sleep the “main nourisher of the feast of life.” And who would dispute that?


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