At the time of writing, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be a global pandemic. Unprecedented measures have meant that the disease progression is currently largely under control in several East Asian countries, and notably China, albeit at extraordinary cost. The global attention has now somewhat shifted towards Europe and the Americas. Due to the transmissibility of the virus and the capacity of the virus to cause severe illness requiring oxygen or ventilation as treatment, global consensus agrees that slowing down the spread of the disease, to ‘flatten the curve’ (#flattenthecurve) so that demand on healthcare services remains to a degree manageable is the most rational decision making path until an effective vaccine or therapeutic drug becomes widely available.
As a result of this, alongside important hygiene measures such as washing hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, it does mean that a large proportion of the population will spend a substantially increased amount of time indoors and in close quarters as a result of self-isolation and home-working, reducing the vectors of transmission for the foreseeable future.
This is tough, but in light of the scientific evidence, it is right for our collective community’s health and wellbeing. At SleepImperial we are primarily focused on the quality of your sleep, which is holistically important for your immune system, general health and mental wellbeing. We do not want to overload you with information in these uncertain times, but would like to offer you a few tips or reminders that you might find helpful in these once-in-a-generation times.
- Limit screen time usage – in particular avoid the temptation to read news and headline-grabbing articles in the hour before you go to sleep. Be sensible and keep up to date with COVID-19 advice daily through reliable sources, such as the World Health Organisation and your country-specific public health channels, but be careful to not be drawn into a downwards spiral through binging on too much information that you alone cannot act on. If you find yourself uncontrollably ruminating, try a regular guided meditation practice before going to bed – perhaps one of ours if you like.
- Remain active – spending increasing amounts of times indoors and avoiding the gym means that your activity levels will decrease, interfering with your sleep routine. Formulate or find a home workout routine appropriate for your body and keep active!
- Eat well – ensure that you are as best able maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, as much as your new shopping arrangements may allow for. Avoid snacking or eating 2 hours before sleeping if you can. Maintaining a healthy body and immune system is your best defence against this virus!
Most importantly of all: remain positive! Let us all pull together for what is a true challenge of our times. Protect yourselves and protect your loved ones by being sensible and following your national public health guidance as best as you can. Sleep well and stay safe!
Sources: World Health Organisation, CDC, The Lancet, PHE, Imperial College London