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There's A Reason You Couldn't Sleep Last Night

There's A Reason You Couldn't Sleep Last Night

Who slept badly last night?

I had such a rubbish sleep that this morning I woke - an hour before my alarm might I add - wondering if I actually managed any shut eye at all. Eight hours into my day and the jury is still out.

Despite going to bed feeling tired, I tossed and turned all night, had all manner of bizarre dreams and by the time 6am rolled around, I was left feeling like even an IV of coffee wouldn't help.

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But, turns out I wasn't alone. In fact, according to a trending hashtag on Twitter - #cantsleep - thousands of us across the UK were experiencing a 'nationwide insomnia' last night. Spooky.

One person on Twitter even shared a screenshot of her group WhatsApp chat (in which other pals were wide awake at 3am) writing: "Finally got to sleep at 4am which is SO STRANGE for someone who usually falls asleep as soon as her head touches the pillow. Woke up and saw #cantsleep trending. I feel part of a cult."

#cantsleep was trending on Twitter last night (Credit: Unsplash)
#cantsleep was trending on Twitter last night (Credit: Unsplash)

While another tweeted: "Wish I'd checked Twitter last night when I couldn't sleep. There seemed to be a nationwide collective #insomnia #cantsleep I guess it's because we're not going anywhere!"

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"Freaking me out that the entire nation had collective insomnia last night, wtf is going on," wrote another.

Others pointed out that it's not entirely surprising. For one, most of us are physically doing much less during lockdown. Binge-watching Tiger King might be entertaining but it's not exactly tiring.

Adjusting to this kind of routine change can be tricky - then there's the afternoon naps we've been having that, let's face it, are not helpful RN.

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There's A Reason You Couldn't Sleep Last Night
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There's A Reason You Couldn't Sleep Last Night


But the reasons aren't limited to lack of physical exertion and the occasional half an hour nap. To get to the bottom of what's going on, we spoke to sleep guru James Wilson - aka The Sleep Geek - who explained all *and* provided some useful tips.

James revealed that last night's poor sleep is down to a 'doubly whammy' of two very important factors. He also explained that now we're in totally different routines, we need to adapt to the shift.

He told Tyla: "The people who were sharing the #cantsleep hashtag on twitter last night and this morning have being struck by a double whammy. The change in routine and anxiety caused by the coronavirus, coupled with the slight jetlag effect of the clocks changing.

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"We are told we need to stick to our routine, but are we sticking to a routine that we had for a normal working week?

Did anyone else have a terrible sleep last night? (Credit: Pexels)
Did anyone else have a terrible sleep last night? (Credit: Pexels)

"Start carving out a new routine that takes into account your sleep type (owl, lark or neutral) as well as other factors - for example, your kids' schedule (if you have them), your work pattern (especially if it's changed) and when you perform best in the day.

"Start adjusting to this new routine - it might mean you going to bed earlier and getting up earlier, or getting up later and going to bed later."

James also pointed to exercise as a huge factor.

"You may not be moving as much and not getting the usual exercise you do. Try and take as much exercise as you can, and get lots of light exposure, particularly earlier in the day," he suggested.

"Naps can be a great energy boost, and they can fill in the boredom during the day, but they do reduce our sleep urge at night and can be quite damaging to us sticking to a sleep routine."

Afternoon naps are not helping (Credit: Unsplash)
Afternoon naps are not helping (Credit: Unsplash)

And naps aren't the only habit we need to cull from our routines. With stress and anxiety having a huge impact on our quality of sleep, James advised against anything COVID-related before bed.

"Keep the couple of hours before bed coronavirus free, so don't watch the news or discuss with family," he said.

"Watch, read or listen to something funny, repetitive or trashy to allow your brain to wander.

"If you can't get to sleep or wake up in the night and don't drop back off within 30 minutes, get up and start again, preferably by listening to something."

For anyone whose terrible sleep was followed by an equally alarming screen time report this morning, James' COVID curfew is the first tip we'll be instilling into our new routines.

Here's to a collective deep sleep tonight instead.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: Life News, Coronavirus, Sleep

Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at [email protected]