4 Steps to Better Sleep in 2021

Does it seem like 2021 is giving 2020 a run for its money for the worst year ever?

I mean, the events in January alone were enough to get our stress levels soaring.

The storming of the Capitol, new variants of the virus sweeping the globe, and the slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccine have just about everyone on edge.

And we’ve only just started the second month of the year!

When our stress levels soar, our sleep is impacted… and not in a good way.

Based on conversations I’ve had with family and friends over the last few weeks, there are a lot more members of the 2am club now than ever before.

Folks that get into bed at a reasonable hour, only to toss and turn, unable to fall asleep.

And those that fall asleep just fine, but wake in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep.

We’re a stressed-out nation. A sleepless nation.

To help get my family and friends back on the right track, I’ve shared with them my 4-part recipe for better sleep during these chaotic times.

It starts with making your bedroom a sleep haven.

If working from home has become a work-from-bed situation, stop and give the office the boot out of the bedroom. 

Find another place to do your work so you don’t have that distraction (and added stress) when you’re trying to get some shut eye.

If you don’t have a designated office space in your home, use the dining room table, living room sofa, pretty much anyplace but the bedroom.

Next, you add in some sunshine.

Natural light has positive effects on your circadian rhythm, your "internal clock" that helps set our sleep/wake schedule.

So much time has been spent indoors over the last few months, that your circadian rhythm may have become out of rhythm, resulting in poor sleep.

Go for a few walks around the neighborhood each day. Grab a book and read outside. Spend some time getting your garden ready for spring.

I know it’s still chilly in many parts of the country, so you might have to bundle up, but anything you can do to increase your time in the sun will help to reset your clock to help you get better sleep.

Third, get moving.

Find more ways to be physically active each day.

Walking, biking, gardening are all good options.

Plus, if you do them outdoors, you’ll be getting in your daily sunlight exposure, too!

And finally, top it off with some stress-busting techniques.

Watch less TV, especially the news.

Take some time out of your day to meditate, pray or just be still.

And, of course, spend some quality time with your pet, if you have one.

There’s no question these are challenging times.

But you can’t let your sleep suffer.

Quality, restorative sleep is essential to maintaining good health, and critical for a healthy immune system.

So, get outside, move more, stress less, and kick work out of your bedroom, to regain control of your sleep.

Stay safe out there.

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