Getting Zzz’s during COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic might be keeping your clients up at night. Or it may be causing them to sleep too much. Both scenarios are concerning because sleep is key to good health.

Sleep problems can impact body weight, mood, and brain function. Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and depression.

Our Sleep Right Poster teaches the benefits of sleep and how to eat, drink, and exercise to get a good night’s sleep. You could use it to start a conversation with your clients about how they’re sleeping these days. Maybe they can identify with one (or more) of these anti-sleep behaviors:

  1. Screen-checkers are on their devices right up until bedtime. The blue light from screens interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, which can make it hard to fall asleep. Turn off your devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  2. Mind-racers have trouble quieting their brain to get into sleep mode. Calm down with physical relaxation exercises, meditation, or soothing bedtime stories (use podcasts or apps like Calm and Headspace).
  3. Toss-and-turners try to force sleep. If you can’t fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, staying in bed is just going to make it worse. Get up and do something quiet and relaxing until you feel sleepy. But keep the lights low.
  4. Catch-uppers sleep late on the weekends to make up for sleepless weeknights. It’s best to have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time every day of the week. And a pre-bedtime routine lets your brain and body know it’s almost time for sleep.
  5. Nappers come in two varieties. Power-nappers take short naps that are refreshing and make them more productive. Long-nappers take — you guessed it — long naps that leave them feeling groggy and can interfere with night-time sleep. Napping after 3pm isn’t a good idea.

There are also lots of sleep-related apps you can try. Check out this list from Healthline.com.

 

 

Sleep Right for Health

Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand. It’s hard to discuss one without touching on the other. The topics are interwoven.

Sleep is another thread to weave into your education sessions. In fact, sleep, nutrition, and exercise are often called the pillars of health.

Start spreading the news about sleep with our Sleep Right poster! This poster will catch people’s attention. It will get them to think more about their sleep habits and realize that sleep is just as important as healthy eating and exercise.

How can you incorporate the topic of sleep into your counseling sessions or classes?

1. Get information about sleep from a reliable source, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. Check out the section on sleep deprivation and deficiency.

2. Find out if your clients are getting enough sleep. According to the NIH, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep if you often feel like you could doze off while …

  • Sitting and reading or watching TV.
  • Sitting still in a public place, such as a movie theater, meeting, or classroom.
  • Riding in a car for an hour without stopping.
  • Sitting and talking to someone.
  • Sitting quietly after lunch.
  • Sitting in traffic for a few minutes.

3. For people who are really motivated to change their sleep habits, suggest that they start by keeping a sleep diary (here’s one from NIH).

4. Offer a class on nutrition and sleep geared toward occupations where people often struggle with sleep issues, such as:

  • Shift workers
  • Truck drivers
  • Pilots
  • Factory workers
  • First responders
  • Health care workers

5. Provide diet and sleep education for these audiences:

  • Parents
  • Teachers & coaches
  • Teens
  • College students

Sleep fits right in when you’re talking about weight management, heart disease, diabetes, food and mood, healthy aging, mental performance, sports nutrition, and healthy eating in general. So start spreading the word about the importance of sleep!