Sleep during the Covid-19 pandemic

We are living through an extraordinary time right now, where the NHS, carers and key-workers are working incredibly hard to keep us alive and fed. Many people have found that their income has stopped, they are struggling with being housebound or face an uncertain future. This uncertainty and worry can be extremely difficult. If you have any problems with your sleep at this time, don’t forget that I offer a free 15-minute telephone consultation and am able to give hints and tips that may ease your symptoms on this call. I also offer full sleep support if needed.

I delivered a note to all of my neighbours with my phone number offering support to get them food, medication or other things they may need, and I was incredibly surprised at how many people took up my offer within hours…
If you have not already, I would greatly suggest that you check if your neighbours need any help at this time… you can turn this worrying solitary time into an opportunity to do good and make people happy. My children have gained a huge sense of community by taking our elderly neighbours daily hot meals. Of course, we wear face masks and practice social distancing at all times.

Sleep Research Study During The Covid-19 Pandemic

I have launched a research project to look at sleep at this crazy time, and have just been made Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester, Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour.

The sleep survey is in collaboration with the University of Leicester and aims to look at sleep, social distancing and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please can you consider taking part in this study, or sharing details with anyone you know who may be able to help. We are interested in men and women (18+) from anywhere in the UK. I would hugely appreciate your support as it will enable us to help many people to deal with stressful situations in the future.

All you will be asked to do is answer one questionnaire (taking about 15 minutes) followed by a 2-week sleep diary. You will then be contacted again at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months to check how your sleep has changed. Please note that all data will be anonymised and held in accordance with GDPR.  

There are 2 x £50 Amazon vouchers and 5 x £20 Amazon vouchers which will be given to randomly selected people who take part – your odds of winning increase the longer you stay in the study.  

Many people are finding that their sleep is disrupted right now, or that they are feeling sluggish and tired during the day, even though they are sleeping well at night.
 Sleep is controlled by our circadian rhythm, which is our internal 24 hour clock. This helps us be alert during the day and sleepy at night. It is usually regulated by daily cues such as exposure to daylight, when we eat our meals, when we exercise and other things. When we stay indoors for a long period of time, we lose many of these cues. For example, especially due to social distancing and isolation we may not go outside to get daylight, making our circadian rhythm less robust. Also, if we are not as physically active during the day and eating our meals at different times, our circadian rhythm may not know the difference between day and night as clearly. In addition, when we experience depression (as many people may be feeling low due to the current COVID-19 situation), this can be associated with insomnia (not sleeping well) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much).

Sleep tips

Some ways that you can improve your sleep, and prevent yourself from feeling so sluggish during the day, include:Make sure that you get up at approximately the same time every day – even though you may not have to get up to go into the office, keep setting your alarm to help your body know when the start of the day is.Make sure that you get bright light in the morning and at midday to help your circadian rhythm know that it is daytime.Try to have regular mealtimes throughout the day – have breakfast soon after waking, lunch at midday and then dinner at the same time each day.Include some exercise in your daily routine – if you can get out of the house for a walk or run in the morning or afternoon that would be ideal, or else do PE with Joe Wicks with the kids at 9am!When it comes to the evening, keep the lights dim and make sure your electronic devices have night mode enabled to block blue light 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.   For more information on why you may be struggling with tiredness, plus the steps that you can take to feel less tired whilst working from home, read this article with InStyle that I contributed on.

The government are also advising how important a regular sleep pattern is right now.  If you’re on Twitter follow me for regular sleep tips @DrBrowningSleep

Online Company Sleep Workshops

If you would like me to run an online sleep and wellbeing workshop for your employees, please pass on my details to your HR team today. I offer many live interactive workshops about how to sleep better even at this time. Find Out More

“Very helpful service – Dr. Browning supported me to improve my chronic insomnia with really practical advice that enabled me to take control of the issue and understand the root cause. I feel so much more informed and prepared for any future sleep issues.  Thank you.”  

Andy, Trouble Sleeping Client