The changes in our routines, our mood, multiple Zoom meetings, and being bombarded with as much news as we allow ourselves to read or listen to are all adversely affecting everyone's sleep and energy.
When you feel more stressed as most of us feel during the pandemic, you are prone to also feel more exhausted. The body responds to stress by staying in the fight-or-flight mode, which produces more cortisol and makes you sleep more lightly. Additionally, when under stress, we often crave denser food such as mashed potatoes or juicy hamburgers. But all of that comfort food, also interferes with your ability to get quality sleep and therefore makes you more tired.
And when you do manage to get some quality sleep, it might be laden with nightmares during the pandemic. The Lyon Neuroscience Research Center found a 15% increase in negative dreams like nightmares. For people not on the front lines of healthcare and emergency response, fears of the novel coronavirus are projected into fears and threats of spiders, zombies, bugs, and shadowy figures.
The best way to increase your energy is to exercise. Regular exercise boots your energy and improves your immune system. There are a wide number of fitness workouts that are available online during the shelter-in-place. In the Bay Area, we are allowed to go for a socially distant walk or run as long as you maintain at least 6-feet of social distance. So, lace up your sneakers and go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes to get your blood flowing, reduce your stress, clear your mind, and increase your energy. Other ideas to get your heart pumping while indoors include jumping rope, your favorite warrior yoga pose, a dance party with your children, or master the latest TikTok dances to your favorite music. Don't forget to strength train indoors as well. Try using household objects as weights such as the detergent bottle, milk jugs, packages of sugar or rice. Keep the weight balanced on both sides of the body.
Regular exercise can tire you out and make your sleep deeper and more restful, which will improve your energy over time.