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Here’s how to fight coronavirus anxiety and get a good night’s sleep

Sleep deprivation is a common complaint during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Getty/TND
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The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us in different ways, with many people experiencing stress and anxiety just as they’re trying to nod off.

Getting to sleep appears to be only half the problem – some people are having vivid dreams or nights where they can’t stop tossing and turning.

Without the structure of a normal routine, nor access to usual outlets like the gym or catching up with friends, it’s easy to feel out of balance and irritable.

But sleep is just as important as exercise and a healthy diet.

It boosts our energy levels and it helps our immune systems fight infections, including the coronavirus.

Most adults need betweens seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best.

So what can you do to boost your chances of getting a good night’s sleep?

Don’t check the news for updates before bed

Although it is important to stay informed about COVID-19, being too absorbed in the rolling news cycle can make it hard to fall asleep, according to the Sleep Health Foundation.

There is a lot of misinformation online, including a number of wacky conspiracy theories about the virus, so be careful what you read.

Read: Patriotic trolls: Social media used to spread coronavirus disinformation, report warns

Reading the news just before bed might make you feel even more panicked about the crisis.

Stick to trusted news sources and official government sites like www.health.gov.au.

Before you go to bed, turn off news updates and leave your phone outside your bedroom.

Switch off

Read a book, meditate or go for a walk.

Do something that gives your brain a break from thinking about COVID-19.

There are plenty of apps around like Smiling Mind that are designed to help make you feel calm.

This is especially important in the hour before you go to sleep.

Write down your worries

If you’re wide awake and the clock keeps ticking, try writing down exactly what is bothering you.

Putting pen to paper can help clear your mind.

Talk about it with a friend in the morning if you need.

Keep work outside the bedroom

With more of us working from home, it can be hard to separate work, sleep and leisure when it’s all happening under the same roof.

Your bed is predominantly for sleep, so keep it that way.

Don’t sit in bed typing on your laptop or taking phone calls.

Exercise

Set an alarm in the morning and get moving.

Try to wear yourself out with exercise so your body collapses into bed at the end of the day.

Regular exercise will also boost endorphins and make you feel better equipped to handle the stresses of life in the coronavirus era.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

We have all been there, lying awake staring at the clock as the minutes, then hours, tick by.

Your inner voice won’t stop worrying: How am I going to feel tomorrow?

If I go to sleep now then maybe I’ll get four hours, is that enough? What if I’m too tired to work tomorrow?

If you didn’t get much sleep, it is not the end of the world.

You will be OK and you will get through the day.

Besides, it will boost your chances of having a good night’s sleep later on.

If you need a boost, it’s fine to have a coffee or a nap.

Exercise can also help, so consider going for a walk around the block.