Coronavirus has not only caused the COVID-19 pandemic, it has spawned an epidemic of sleeplessness.
“Almost every single patient I’m speaking with has insomnia,” said Dr. Alon Y. Avidan. He is a UCLA neurology professor who specializes in sleep problems. “With COVID-19 we have an epidemic of insomnia. We call it COVID-somnia.”
It’s not only the stress of coronavirus that is keeping people awake.
With more people staying indoors, it can mean they are not getting enough light exposure. This can throw off their body clock, making it difficult to fall asleep at bedtime, Dr. Avidan said.
“Without light in the morning, people lose the circadian cues that are so fundamentally important in setting up appropriate and normal sleep-wake time,” he said.
He recommends that you get sun exposure shortly after waking in the morning. Five minutes spent outdoors in the morning is enough to keep your sleep cycle on track, he said.
The NASA Solution for Better Sleep
Here’s another effective tool for getting the rest you need. It was developed by NASA scientists.
When we first sent men into space for extended periods, NASA discovered it had a problem: The astronauts couldn’t sleep.
Even those who always slept soundly on Earth were plagued by insomnia.
NASA did not want to give the astronauts sleeping pills because drugs could impair their ability to respond during an emergency.
NASA tested dozens of non-pharmaceutical methods to induce sleep. The one that worked best is called autogenic training (AT).
It’s now being used aboard the International Space Station. Russian cosmonauts have adopted it. So has the airline industry to help its jet-lagged pilots.
Jane Bird is a sleep therapist and a founding member of the British Autogenic Society. She explains that AT allows people to control their stress response. By turning off stress, relaxation and sleep come naturally and quickly.
“AT influences the autonomic nervous system, which governs our stress and adrenaline output,” she said. “It switches off stress and activates the relaxation and repair response.”
It doesn’t require much time, but you do have to maintain consistency. Start with three, 10-minute sessions a day. Many therapists recommend a session after lunch, another in the late afternoon, and the final one done at bedtime.
Here’s how to do an autogenic training session:
First, sit or lie down in a comfortable position some place where you won’t be disturbed. Uncross your legs and relax your arms at your sides.
Close your eyes. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Then slowly and silently say to yourself the script below.
Repeat each of the statements five times. You don’t have to say these exact words, but try to stick with something similar. After doing it a few times, you’ll have it memorized.
Visualize each sensation as you proceed.
- My arms are heavy. My left arm is heavy. My right arm is heavy. Both of my arms are heavy.
- My legs are heavy. My left leg is heavy. My right leg is heavy. Both of my legs are heavy.
- My arms are warm. My left arm is warm. My right arm is warm. Both of my arms are warm.
- My legs are warm. My left leg is warm. My right leg is warm. Both of my legs are warm.
- My heartbeat is calm and regular.
- My breathing is calm and regular.
- My abdomen is warm.
- My forehead is cool.
When you are done, take a few slow, deep breaths and open your eyes.
You should start seeing results after two weeks. After a month, many people find they are sleeping soundly just about every night.
As your sleeping improves, you can reduce the number of AT sessions to one right before bed. Eventually, you may not need it at all.
Editor’s Note: Discover the simple ancient health practice that researchers believe may offer a “ray of hope” in the fight against COVID-19. It takes just minutes a day.
Find out why one doctor is doing it himself and is recommending it to all his patients. Get all the details in Independent Healing. To get your copy, go HERE.