Let's fix it.
I’ve extolled the importance of adequate and quality sleep in supporting and modulating immunity in response to a viral outbreak before (here and here ). But as I really cannot stress this point enough I thought I would use this post today to address the ever increasing Corona Insomnia that 99.9% of us are suffering with, myself included.
For the last couple of weeks, as the Covid-19 pandemic has progressively worsened, I’ve found myself to be surprisingly calm during the day with little feeling of anxiety or stress. In short - I was pretty pleased with myself for practicing what I preach as a Functional Nutritional Therapist and Breathwork Coach. To my dismay, however, as soon as my waking mind had relinquished control over my senses and I’d drifted off into what I thought was a peaceful slumber, I found my dreams to be anything but peaceful. My sleep has been incredibly broken and anxious with lots of tossing and turning and on occasion I wake to recall that in my dreams I’d contracted Covid.
Firstly, I was so dismayed that keeping my cool during the day did not automatically mean that I was keeping my cool in my unconscious state, and secondly I knew instantly that I had to do something about it because, as we know, sleep modulates the way our immune system responds to a virus.
So here’s what I did, and highly recommend you do too if you’re struggling with Corona Insomnia or nighttime anxiety:
The Presscription Signature Cleanse is a great entry level cleanse for anyone wanting to boost their intake of beneficial vitamins, enzymes and minerals. The star of the show, especially for a time like this, is the AMBER BOOST - amazingly immune boosting as it contains lemon, lime and red chilli.
1. Check your consumption. At times like these it’s even more crucial to watch what you’re consuming, both dietary and in terms of social media, the TV news, radio and reading the papers. Diet wise you can optimise your sleep by loading up on tryptophan rich foods for your evening meal (tryptophan is an amino acid that gets converted to serotonin and helps us sleep). A simple google will inform you of high tryptophan food sources.
In terms of news consumption this is something I’ve had stern conversations with my parents about since learning that they’re sleeping poorly and in a heightened state of panic and worry pretty much all day too. Only check the news once per day. I know we all want to keep up to date with what’s going on, but your mental health and your sleep is more important than the 10pm news. My advice is to listen to a morning broadcast or read the headlines over your breakfast and let that be it for the day. By shifting your news briefing earlier in the day you’ve got hours ahead of you in which you can reframe your thoughts into a more positive order which will help you get quality sleep.
2. No screens (Including phone, TV, iPad, Kindle) at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. I find the best way to achieve this is by going to bed an hour earlier than you’d ideally like to be falling asleep and reading a good old fashioned book, having left your phone on airplane mode to charge overnight in another room. Phones outside the bedroom is literally a game changer - try it. You’ll also find that you get out of bed faster in the morning too…I wonder why!
3. Dim the lights in your house when the sun goes down. Help your circadian rhythm know what’s going on by simulating the sunset inside your home. That means no overhead lights and instead low or warm tone side lamps. Even better, check out Red Light Rising and indulge in some red light therapy before bed, you might just have the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had!
4. Make like Elton John and get some red tinted glasses. I’m pretty sure that Elton wasn't trying to optimise his circadian biology and mitochondrial function with this fashion statement, but it would have been a nice side effect. Seriously though, I cannot bang this point home enough - blue blockers aren’t a fad and they will seriously up your sleep game, so get some now.
5. Do a gentle yoga flow or a breathwork class (obv with your blue blockers on so that the light from your phone or laptop isn’t too distracting) an hour or so before you go to bed. This will help you downregulate your Central Nervous System and switch in to that all important Parasympathetic Nervous System.
6. Nutrition is key - avoid excessive alcohol with dinner and no coffee or tea after midday! That is a rule! Not only that but if you have a poor diet or compromised gut health then you might consider getting a good quality multivitamin, just so that your body has everything it needs to carry out all the enzymatic reactions that keep us healthy and sleeping well. Well worth speaking to a Nutritional Therapist (I’m still taking clients online), or Nutritionist to ascertain whether you need additional support at a time like this. Ordering yourself a Prescription Juice cleanse to pop in the fridge and have alongside your regular meals isn’t a bad idea either, dose up on those vitamins and minerals!
7. Lastly, sunlight. Get as much natural light first thing in the morning as possible (and throughout the day if you can work from home with the windows open, for example). Not only do we need the Vitamin D right now, but natural light in the morning equals better sleep at night!
Going back to basics at a time like this is key, hence sleep, nutrition and stress reduction become absolutely fundamental in our fight against Covid. I hope this blog has been useful to you, and if you implement any of the advice mentioned in it then let me know over on Instagram either @presscriptionjuice or @gracekingswell
"Absolutely delicious! Everything I hoped they would be. Fresh, zingy, filling and number 8 was the perfect remedy for sleep!" The Signature Cleanse, Imogen M.