Recent research published in the Journal of Sleep Research has shown that the current COVID-19 pandemic has induced and worsened sleep problems in populations throughout the world. The researchers found that being forced to stay at home, work from home, and homeschool children, while at the same time minimizing social outings, can have a major impact on daytime stress and even nighttime stress.
It was found that juggling work, homeschooling, and household chores, while also worring about job uncertainty and financial security, induces a state of heightened and prolonged anxiety that can lead to chronic insomnia. In addition, being confined to home has also led to less daylight exposure than usual, reduced physical activity, and increased consumption of comfort food, which leads to increased weight.
The combination of increased stress and decreased sleep can lead to an acceleration in a person's appearance of tiredness and aging. Since we at Maine Laser Skin Care have re-opened, we have been flooded with clients seeking Botox to smooth the wrinkling associated with scowling, crow's feet, and "worry lines" on the forehead.
While we are certainly glad to provide the needed relief of Botox, getting the right amount of good sleep can make a world of difference. Here are some general recommendations for improving sleep that can help you to decrease stress while also helping your overall sense of well-being:
- Keep your sleeping hours to a regular pattern. Try your best to wake up and go to bed at about the same time each day.
- Reserve the bedroom for sleep and (yes) sex only. Try not to use this room for work, watching TV, or computer use, especially if any of these activities require sitting on the bed.
- If you are working from home and/or homeschooling, schedule some 15-minute breaks at various times during the day.
- Try to exercise daily, preferably outside and in the daylight hours. While many gyms still remain closed, you can still go for a walk or a bike ride.
- Avoid the use of computers or portable devices after dinner or too close to bedtime.
- If you have children, try to keep them to a regular sleep schedule as well. Spend 30 minutes before their bedtime doing a calming activity with them such as reading or storytelling.
- Avoid prescription or over-the-counter sleep medications. They may help in the short term, but can lead to psychological dependence and, contrary to popular belief, even eventually bring users right back to chronic insomnia.
- Try calming activities such as meditation and yoga to reduce stress and anxiety.
These last three months have certainly been a stressful time for all, and we are still not out of the woods yet when it comes to COVID-19. However, if you can keep to a regular schedule, especially related to exercise and sleep, we can all get through this together and remain healthy.
We have a limited menu of services open right now in both our Augusta and Scarborough locations, and we will hopefully be able to expand these treatments over the next few months per CDC and Governor Mills' guidelines. All the changes from elimination of waiting areas to hand sanitizer and mask use is to maintain client and staff safety while providing as much aesthetic help as we can.
As a reminder, due to the requirements for sanitizing our offices, appointments are required for the client only, and are more limited due to efforts to reduce unnecessary interactions. For examples, clients with appointments are not allowed to bring guests to wait with them, and walk-ins are prohibited until further notice.
Please call us at (207) 873-2158 in Augusta or (207) 303-0125 in Scarborough to reserve your next appointment. Since we have announced our opening date, the spots have been filling up fast.