Getting Rest to Feel Your Best

Sleep is always a vital part of staying healthy and looking out for our mental health. Getting enough sleep is hard enough for a lot of people, and though staying at home may make it easier for some people to catch enough Zs, there can still be challenges. Here are some potential challenges you may face in feeling well-rested and some possible solutions: 

Challenges 

  • Changes in Routine and Environment  
  • Increased Stress and Anxiety, Depression 
  • Isolation 
  • Excess Screen Time 
  • Work and/or Family Difficulties 
  • Stress-Related Fatigue 

If you are having trouble getting enough sleep or struggling with some of these challenges, there are steps you can take to promote a better quantity and quality of sleep in your life. You may notice a difference with some steps right awaythough others may take more time to implement and get results. Cultivating good sleep hygiene can include the following: 

Solutions 

  • Set a Schedule/Routine – Include things like wake-up, wind-down and bedtime, in addition to other tasks, meals and activities. 
  • Use the Bed for Sleep – Reserve your bed for when you are ready to tuck in and get some shut eye. Avoid working in your bed or watching TV/movies on your laptop. 
  • Natural Light – Exposure to natural light is extremely helpful in regulating sleep and other circadian rhythms. Open windows and blinds and spend some time outside! 
  • Nap Smart – The power nap is the way to go. Short afternoon naps (around half an hour) can be helpful while longer naps in the evening can actually have a negative impact on your sleep. 
  • Get Active – Exercise and other physical activity is good for your body and can also improve the quality of your sleep. 
  • Utilize Relaxation Strategies – Deep breathing, stretching, meditation and quiet reading are all examples of things you can do to relax, especially as you wind-down before bed. Another strategy can be reducing the amount of time spent on social media or taking in news. 

So why is sleep so important? In addition to being an important part of coping with the stress of everything going on in the world, it is also an important part of supporting a healthy and active immune system. The recommended amount of sleep for the average person is 6-9 hours. Sleep can help your body stay physically healthy in the following ways: 

  • Production and Release of Cytokines – These proteins target infection and inflammation in the body during the immune response. 
  • Muscle Growth and Repair – Especially after physical activity and exercise when muscles are put under stress 
  • Hormone Regulation – A lack of sufficient sleep can cause an increase in levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body. This can lead to physiological responses which include a suppression of the immune system. 

For more detailed information or specific questions about sleep-related problems, the National Sleep Foundation is a great resource, especially this article relating to sleep during Covid-19. 

What to do if you or someone else is sick or fears exposure: 

Any member of the Stetson community who has been to campus in the last 14 days and feels they may have come into direct contact with the virus causing COVID-19 or is experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever over 100.3, cough, shortness of breath) should alert Stetson immediately. Fill out this online form: Stetson University: COVID-19 Report a Concern Form. During business hours- call Health Service (386-822-8150). After business hours- call Public Safety (386-822-7300). If you are concerned about someone else’s exposure, also let us know- don’t just tell them to do so. This applies to our College of Law students, faculty and staff.