How the pandemic may have affected your sleep routine

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- We've all had to adjust to the pandemic in one way or another. But it's important to recognize how those adjustments affect our attempts to achieve uninterrupted, restorative slumber.

Samantha Miller, a rising sophomore at Duke said, "I guess it's been harder to go to sleep. You're always in your house, so it's harder to get the separation of going away to work and coming back, being able to go to bed."

Rachel George's travel from London to Durham left her feeling jet-lagged.

"That's a little hard as well, and we just got a new dog. So training him has me up early," said George.

If that sounds familiar, the advice aired Sunday on Good Morning America could help you make some healthy adjustments.

RELATED: How to get a good night's sleep when stressed

"Sleep really affects so many areas of our lives," said Dr. Shelby Harris, a psychologist who specializes in behavioral sleep medicine. "I think it really affects your cognition, memory, attention concentration, quality of life, mood, depression, anxiety. Increased risk of cardiovascular issues, a weakened immune system, diabetes, weight gain. There are so many things, I could go on and on."

And while Dr. Harris advises turning off the TV before turning in, if you have one in your bedroom, Rachel George said "But I have been thinking I need to get up early to read the news, in case something happened. So that's a little anxiety-inducing!"

That's why Dr. Harris also recommends avoiding any peeks at mobile devices before bedtime.

"Set aside time for yourself and plan it in, just like you would for anybody else. Really cut out from your life things that don't add to it. Cut out things that detract from it. And write it down. Journal how important it is to your life, and how it can help you in the other things you need to do," she said.

As GMA anchor Whit Johnson advised on Sunday morning, you can help yourself sleep soundly by remembering "no screens, wind down, have a routine" before bedtime that can reduce or eliminate potential distractions that could make it very hard to get restorative sleep.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.