What was your sleep experience like during the lockdowns and in the early days of the pandemic? Did you find yourself able to sleep longer and better? Or did you experience any unusual sleep patterns that may have potentially been induced by the strange circumstances in which we all found ourselves? 

For me personally, my lockdown sleep experience was more the latter. In this article, I share my personal experience and also some facts on how good quality sleeping materials could potentially improve sleep overall. This post is in conjunction with TEMPUR®. However, all thoughts are my own.

 

Lockdown blues

During lockdown, the days blended into each other, each one seemingly the same as the one before. In the absence of life’s regular distractions – commuting, travelling, socialising – and fewer demands on my attention, it became easier for my mind to go into overdrive. 

I discovered that my thoughts become amplified in moments of prolonged silence; their loudness sometimes makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. This was a common occurrence for me during lockdown. 

Two months into lockdown, the initial excitement of being able to funnel the extra time towards long abandoned projects and to give my hobbies some attention had begun to wane, giving way to some anxiety. There was only so much TikTok dancing and watching Netflix one could do to fill up the unplanned downtime. 

By the time I realised I was growing listless and more anxious, the first UK lockdown was already entering its third month. 

“What if this goes on for the rest of the year and our income suffers?” I pondered.

“What if there is an emergency with our extended families living overseas and we are unable to travel to be with them?” I was worried.

I tossed these and more thoughts around as I lay in bed most nights. 

Of course, these concerns were not unique to me. The rest of the country and indeed many families across the world likely shared similar concerns about the pandemic and the uncertain future it had suddenly created. There were, after all, very few people left on the planet who had lived through a global pandemic and who had any experience in dealing with it. 


Dreams and memories

My sleep cycle became irregular during lockdown. When I did fall asleep, my dreams were more vivid; entire sci-fi movies played out in my brain. In those dreams, I was at once the hero and the villain, the victor and the victim, captain of my own spaceship exploring distant galaxies. 

In one particularly memorable one, my bed became a helicopter pad from which I launched secret spy missions to far-flung island destinations where azure waters and sun-bleached white sands welcomed me. In hindsight, I think that my brain was simply trying to fill the void caused by the lack of travel and real-world adventure.

Anyway, my lockdown dreams could have given James Bond, Steven Speilberg, and Stephen King a run for their money. 

Health experts have confirmed that insufficient sleep can have detrimental effects on memory.

“Getting an ‘average’ amount of sleep, seven hours per day, may help maintain memory in later life…”

Elizabeth Devore, Nurse Practitioner in Neurology speaking to Harvard Health Publishing in 2020

Like many people, I find that when my sleep is disrupted, my memories the next day are not as sharp. My brain is foggy and I have to expend extra energy to process difficult conversations and tasks. 

While I haven’t suffered any noticeable lockdown-related memory lapses, I’ve since met several people who, like me, appear to be thrown off with dates and timelines. Like a scene from the popular Will Smith movie, Men in Black, it was as if 2020 was a black hole into which time and memories disappeared, leaving gaps in our recollection of events. 

I daresay that the sudden change to our routines, concerns about the pandemic, and problems with sleep have led to some level of collective global amnesia.


The sleep science perspective

According to the UK Office of National Statistics, we collectively spent an average of 18 more minutes sleeping or resting during lockdown. Let’s be frank, we didn’t all convert our work commute time into extra productivity. 

Even though it is unlikely that the extra minutes were mostly spent in bed, the sleep science experts say that a good pillow helps with improved sleeping posture which in turn preserves spinal alignment reduces stress on the joints, and promotes good quality sleep.

A good mattress and pillow is key to helping the body maintain a physiologically natural position and recover from physical strains.


Is TEMPUR® the perfect fit for us?

During lockdown, we began the process of purchasing a new home. The stress and anxiety of dealing with solicitors and navigating the property purchase process most definitely added to my level of anxiety. Fortunately, we managed to complete not too long after the last lockdown ended.

At the time of writing this, we were still living out of boxes but gradually putting things in order. One thing we have decided not to compromise, however, is our sleep. TEMPUR® is one of the leading mattress and pillow brands on the market which we have considered.

TEMPUR® material is the “original memory foam”, originally created by NASA in the 1970’s to cushion astronauts during lift-off as they journeyed into space. TEMPUR® stands by their statement that their mattress material and pillows could potentially transform and improve sleep. We are planning to take advantage of the TEMPUR® “100 night mattress home trial” try-before-you-buy offer.

I’m personally looking forward to improving my sleep quality overall. Having a comfortable, supportive pillow and a good quality mattress should help me quieten my wild thoughts and crazy dreams in the quest for a good night’s sleep.

We have hopefully seen the end of lockdowns. If that is the case, in addition to good quality sleep, I actually wouldn’t mind a helicopter trip to an exotic island destination in real life.

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).