FROM the constant scroll of coronavirus news updates to the fear of empty supermarket shelves – many people are currently plagued with insomnia.
And it's not surprising, given the uncertainty surrounding the unprecedented situation we're currently in and the fact our lives have dramatically changed.
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However, a night of tossing and turning can not only leave you feeling sluggish and bleary-eyed – but, in the long run, it can impact on your physical, mental and emotional health too.
And while there is currently no life hack that stops you from getting coronavirus, we do know that sleep is essential in helping our bodies stay healthy.
This is why, more than ever, we all start making a few changes to make sure we're at our top form each day as we face another day in lockdown.
Here, we take you through some of our top tips to help you drift off into the land of nod and beat coronavirus insomnia…
1. Ditch your phone
Many of us will be glued to our phones at the moment – whether it's to keep up to date with the latest coronavirus news or to stay in touch with our friends and family during lockdown.
However, phones or tablets that emit blue light have been shown to disrupt melatonin levels – the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle.
This is not just to get a good night's kip – studies show a connection between overuse of phones and depression and anxiety.
She says: "Information overload and constant connection can negatively impact your mood.
"While it might be tempting to cuddle up with your iPad at the moment, make sure you allow your brain to switch off in the evenings.
"Avoid social media accounts and emails for 90 minutes before bedtime. Instead read a book, listen to relaxing music and have a bath using relaxing essential oils.
"A regular wind down routine like this will reduce feelings of anxiety and allow your mind to relax; making sure you get a good night’s sleep and preparing you for the day ahead."
2. Stay cool
You might feel like having a warm, cosy house is one of the only comforts at the moment – but this can actually disrupt sleep.
This is because central heating systems dry out the mucous membranes, making you more thirsty during the night.
Dr Neil Stanley, ex-chairman of the British Sleep Society, says the optimum temperature for a good night is 18C or lower.
We need to lose around 1C of our internal body temperature, which sits at around 37C – to drift off.
If you're in a room that's too warm, your body can't dump that excess heat – and that means that your sleep will be disturbed.
Turn the heating off in your bedroom and instead use duvets, blankets and breathable bed linen to help regulate your body temperature.
3. Be careful with coffee
We're all guilty of knocking back coffee throughout the day to keep us going – especially while we're trying to keep ourselves going while working from home.
However, time is of the essence when it comes to your caffeine hit – as if you drink it too early or too late in the day it can stop you sleeping.
Dr Sarah Brewer, a registered doctor and nutritional therapist, believes that most of us are drinking coffee at the wrong times of the day – from our first cup (which is too early), to our last (which is too late).
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She said: "Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world and mainly works via adenosine receptors in the brain.
"This produces an alerting effect by increasing the release of some brain chemicals. Caffeine increases focus and reduces the perception of fatigue.
"By blocking adenosine receptors, it prevents the relaxing responses produced by adenosine and interferes with your ability to wind down and sleep.”
She recommends that you have your final cup of coffee no later than 5pm – although chronic insomniacs might want to stop the caffeine consumption at lunchtime.
4. Make kids sleep on their own
Lots of parents will be spending 24/7 with their kids at the moment – after the Prime Minister shut schools to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.
But this doesn't give them an excuse to cuddle up in bed with you, and this may actually be detrimental to yours – and their – sleep.
Not only will their wriggling likely keep you up, letting a child sleep with you can stunt their development.
Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum recommends giving your child a nightlight if they can't sleep in their own room.
She says: "Soothing nightlights can be a big help for anxious children who are scared of the dark and come though to escape it.
"Choose one that plays soft music and dreamy patterns to aid their sleep."
According to the above chart posted on Lifehacker, children should go to bed by a certain time… and it all depends on when they woke up.
5. Don't eat before bed
If you've managed to get some good grub during your once-a-week trip to the supermarket or a tasty takeaway that was left on your doorstep – make sure you don't eat it right before bed as this can really upset the body's sleep cycle.
Experts say you should avoid eating within three hours of bedtime to "avoid indigestion, acid reflux and even nightmares".
Helen Bond, registered dietitian, recommended the best snacks, including vegetable sticks with tzatziki, toast with salt nut butter and popcorn if the late-night munchies hit.
She told The Sun Online: "It’s best to avoid snack foods that are highly processed or refined.
"As well as being high in saturated fat, sugar and/or salt, they’re often low in nutrients and loaded with calories, and very moreish which makes it harder for us to control our weight."
6. Avoid booze
For lots of people, a glass or two of wine, or a sip or two of brandy before bed will be the great way to celebrate the end of a week in lockdown.
However, this might hinder your sleep regime because alcohol blocks tryptophan – an amino acid that helps you sleep – from getting to the brain.
Professor Malcolm von Schantz, from the University of Surrey, says: "Alcohol has a weird effect in that it makes it easier to fall asleep, but it makes it harder to stay asleep and it affects the quality of our sleep."
7. Shower at 8.30pm
A recent study has found that taking a warm shower 90 minutes before bed can help people nod off 50 per cent faster – and increase their total sleep time by 15 minutes.
This is because hot water dilates your blood vessels, improving your skin’s ability to lose excess heat.
And this helps your body to reduce its core temperature – a process that is key to falling asleep easily.
The researchers, from the University of Texas in Austin, said: "The temperature cycle leads the sleep cycle and is an essential factor in achieving rapid sleep onset and high efficiency sleep."
With 90 minutes before bed time being the prime time for a shower, that means you should be hopping in the shower at about 8:30pm.
Why that time? Taking a shower at 8:30 means you will be in bed and asleep by 10pm.
8. Shut pets away
There's nothing more comforting than cuddling up to your dog or cat in bed at the end of the day.
However, they can rob us of those vital zzzzs – not just because they fidget about, but also because of fur shedding.
On top of this, sleeping with a furry friend can also aggravate allergies or asthma in those susceptible to it.
Dr Ramlakhan says: "While pets can seem like a great bedtime companion, they are bound to disrupt our sleep patterns in the long-term, despite how soothing it may be to have them in the bedroom with us.
"We must avoid pets getting into the habit of sleeping in our beds with us as best we can.
"And ensure they have their own place to sleep, as well as being groomed regularly to reduce fur shedding which can also be a nuisance."
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