How Lockdown Caused My Insomnia (Even After Lockdown)Nov 10, 2021
If you’ve ever struggled with sleep, you’ll agree with me that stress can turn you into an insomniac. Our whole world has been squeezed with an onslaught of stress over the past 18-months. The perpetual lockdowns. Financial pressures. Keeping up with rapid change. Homeschooling kids. COVID-19 sickness and fatalities. Mandatory jabs. Fear of the unknown.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine analysed Google Trends during the global pandemic, revealed that internet searches for insomnia dramatically increased by 58%, with most of the searches happening around 3 am. Data is showing that sleep issues are real - and considering the stats, it’s highly likely you’re personally experiencing this too!
When I Turned Insomniac
Let’s go back to March 2020. Everything was going fine and dandy. In fact, I felt like life was pretty cruisy. My business was going great, my littlest had started school, I had more time for myself. I felt like I was balancing all the balls beautifully. Then...dum, dum, dummmm...lockdown happened. I went into a state of fear and panic. How were we going to survive financially? What if all the food from the supermarkets dried up? How was I going to pivot our businesses, while homeschooling kids?
For the first few weeks, I became a complete insomniac. I couldn’t fall asleep. I couldn’t stay asleep. I lied in bed all night, tossing and turning, worrying about NOT sleeping, as well as everything else. Sure enough, all my old symptoms of anxiety & low-immunity & body pain & fatigue & heartburn started creeping back in. I couldn’t handle the kids. I was screaming and snappy. The Dragon Mum was back! My hands were always shaking. I felt physically sick.
Luckily, I had my functional medicine toolkit to turn to and was able to get on top of my stress hormones and calm down my nervous system, which reversed insomnia quickly. I was sleeping soundly again, thank goodness.
Sleep Issues Lingering Post-Lockdown
The interesting thing, however, is that since then, I’ve had to work hard on the ‘onion layers’ (root causes) of my health and be very mindful about my ‘stress bucket’ to maintain optimal sleep. Over the last 18-months, if stress has gotten too high, or if my hormones started acting a bit funny (which actually happened when I started swimming weekly at the local pool - that is another blog post!!), sure enough, I would find myself tossing and turning in my sleep, awake all night listening to Chris snoring (haha!). I tried to blame it on Chris’s snoring, but I’m pretty sure he snores when I do sleep, I just can’t hear it when I’m deeply and restoratively sleeping (lesson to learn: don’t blame your partner’s snoring if you can’t sleep - it’s a sign that YOUR sleep is not optimal).
There are countless articles, studies, and clinical evidence that is showing that sleep issues aren't just contained to lockdown, but that insomnia is persisting post-lockdown worldwide. Research even links this global pandemic as causing PTSD, which can really cause havoc to your sleep.
What’s The Link Between Stress & Sleeplessness?
When you are super stressed, you start secreting an excess amount of cortisol (your stress hormone). When cortisol is charging through your system, it causes melatonin (your sleepy hormone) to suppress. Low melatonin = poor sleep. Stress can also quickly deplete your neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, a brain chemical essential for restorative sleep. If stress is acute, your body will calm down, and melatonin and serotonin will start producing appropriately again. However, if there is a prolonged amount of stress (such as during the global pandemic, for many people), your hormones and brain chemicals become so depleted and so out of balance, that it can cause chronic, long-lasting sleep issues, that are difficult to reset unless you do deep healing of the body’s physiology and address the root causes.
And just so that you are aware: stress comes in many forms. Emotional stress, mental stress, physical stress (i.e. sickness, injury, exercise), environmental stress (toxins, mould, EMFs), dietary stress, temperature stress, and hidden inflammation inside your body (i.e. gut pathogens, heavy metals, etc). Imagine if you already had many of these stressors lingering in and around you, and then a big life event stressor bombarded you. It’s a recipe set up for a sleep disaster!
What Can You Do To Restore Sleep?
If you are struggling with sleep, I deeply SEE you. I know your pains. I know how debilitating insomnia can be. And how difficult it is to parent and function throughout the day at work, when your body is exhausted and feeling like it’s falling apart. I have the deepest empathy for you suffering sleepers. It is just the WORST, and so crippling.
So here are some things you can do to start restoring your sleep:
- Only Control What You Can Control - anxiety occurs when you start worrying about things outside of your control. Make a list of all the things that are worrying you, and highlight what stressors you CAN control, and start working on those. As the saying goes: “worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
- Relaxation Techniques - Work into your bedtime routine relaxation techniques to help clear your mind of stress. Chris created a hypnotic induction recording “Clearing The Now” that works beautifully to clear all the clutter and noise in your mind and lead to better sleep. You can access this recording for free here.
- Use Light To Restore Melatonin - Sunlight & darkness is so incredibly powerful at restoring burned-out melatonin. I’ve created a 3-Day Sleep Detox program to help heal melatonin and achieve optimal sleep. You can download this program as a gift from me here.
- Get To The Root Cause Of Poor Sleep - Yes, it’s probably evident to you (if you’ve read this far) that your stress levels are linked to poor sleep. But what other ‘stressors’ or ‘root causes’ could be at play in your insomnia? I’ve created an assessment that identifies the contributing factors and root causes of body burnout. There’s a section in the assessment specifically for sleep too. You can take this free Ending Body Burnout Assessment here.
- Sign up to “Your Essential Pandemic Toolkit” Course - If some of your worry is around immune health, jabs or actually catching covid, you will find our Vaccines & COVID course very helpful! I ran this LIVE a couple of weeks back, and had a lot of people asking for the recording, so I turned the masterclass into a info-packed course with exactly what you need to: 1) Build a Healthy Immune System, 2) Before/After Vaccine Protocols, To Support A Healthy Immune System, 3) What To Do If You Get Sick With COVID. I want every family to have this toolkit in their home!!! You can sign up for the course here.
Author: Filipa Bellette is Co-Founder of Chris & Filly Functional Medicine. She is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner. She is also a Ph.D. thought-leader, award-winning writer, and regularly published as a guest blogger & in the media. Together with her husband Chris Bellette, Filipa has worked with over 2,000+ busy, burnout clients in the last 10+ years, and specialises in producing healthy, balanced, and happy Mums & Dads...or as she calls it, a Power Parent! Filipa’s own passion for producing high-performance Power Parents came from her own personal experience of Mummy Burnout, after having babies and juggling the demands of business, family, and her failing health.
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