All of our lives are looking very different to how they were a few months ago, with some of us working from home, some of us on furlough or unemployed, and all of us social distancing for the foreseeable future.
Have you been feeling more tired than usual during this unprecedented time? If so, you are far from alone in this.
It would seem we have become a nation of exhausted people since the COVID-19 outbreak began, with people reporting high levels of fatigue and grogginess.
The medical term for grogginess is ‘sleep inertia’, the symptoms of which are clumsiness, an inability to concentrate, and feelings of confusion or disorientation.
So, in this article, we’re looking at why exactly you’re feeling tired and groggy, and what you can do about it.
Not only are you experiencing substantial physical differences to your life at the moment, but there are emotional changes happening, too.
After all, there’s a lot to think about right now: the pandemic itself, employment, childcare, how to keep yourself happy, how to help others, and so much more.
With everything that is happening, we are all functioning (or struggling to function) with high levels of stress and uncertainty.
Due to this, your sleep will no doubt be affected — perhaps through insomnia, which would be an obvious indicator for why you’re feeling so fatigued and groggy.
However, there can be many reasons for fatigue that are far less obvious.
Living on high alert and with feelings of helplessness in the face of the virus outbreak can be exhausting. Even if you don’t outwardly feel anxious, you have no problems getting to sleep and are clocking up a regular eight hours a night, the quality of your sleep can be affected.
If you wake up throughout the night, you’ll not be getting into a deep sleep, which will leave you feeling terrible the next day.
On top of this, you are currently spending far less time outdoors than usual, which means far less exposure to natural light.
You may not realise it, but natural light is “the main biological signal to alertness”, according to Professor Colin Espie, who is a professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Oxford.
When you don’t get enough exposure to natural light, your body doesn’t switch off its secretion of melatonin — the sleep hormone — and so you are far more likely to feel sleepy throughout the morning and less alert throughout the day.
A lack of routine can also cause more problems than you might expect. With many of us working from home at the moment, it’s easy for the usual routines to get dropped and for the boundaries between work life and home life to blur.
When this happens, it can be incredibly hard to relax as you’ll never feel like you’ve switched off from work.
The good news is, there are actions you can take in order to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. Follow the tips below and wave goodbye to the grogginess!
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