If you're struggling to sleep when your head hits the pillow at night, but feel like a zombie during the day, you're not alone.
Despite having more time to rest than ever before, good sleep is hard to get in lockdown if you're spending all day at home.
It turns out there's a very good reason why many of us are struggling to sleep at the moment – and it actually has little to do with how we're sleeping.
Our body's circadian rhythm governs everything from when to eat, wake up, work the hardest and – you guessed it – fall asleep.
Any disruption to our normal body clock – for example, being in lockdown – can have damning effects on how we sleep.
So, can't seem to sleep at night despite all your best efforts? Here's how to fix it.
WHAT IS YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
Put simply, your circadian rhythm is your body's internal clock which tells you when it is time to do things, according to Dr Harvey Karp.
Dr Karp is an expert in sleep and a paediatrician and believes the lockdown has been hardest on new parents who are struggling with less sleep and help from family and friends because of social distancing measures.
"We have rhythms within our body, all sorts of rhythms that time to the day the release of hormones, the way your body uses food, your appetite," he told news.com.au.
"The processes inside your hormones are all related to your internal clock."
The running of your internal clock is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) part of your brain, which is impacted by access to light.
"When the SCN detects light, you produce awakening hormones such as (the Adrenocorticotropic) ACTH and cortisol – causing you to feel energetic," Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo said.
"In the absence of light, the SCN causes the synthesis of sleepiness hormones such as melatonin and adenosine – helping you feel tired."
If your circadian rhythm is out of whack it can spell huge trouble for your sleep, as well as making you feel not so alert during the day.
"You feel exhausted in the morning and during the day, yet wide awake and alert in the evening," Arezzolo said.
HOW CAN LOCKDOWN AFFECT YOUR BODY CLOCK?
While too much exposure to blue light from computer and phone screens at night is a sure-fire way to throw you off balance, being in lockdown can also be detrimental to your circadian rhythm.
"It may mean that you're not eating at the right times, it may mean that you aren't exercising and exercise is another good way to keep you body in the daily rhythms," Dr Karp said.
"It may also be that you're inside and you have a lot of worries about your job or your finances or your relationship with your partner or your child."
With many of us now working from home, this also means that our schedules are off balance, which pushes our body clocks out of synch, too.
"Lockdown largely allows us to dictate our own schedule – so perhaps instead of waking so early to start work at 9am, we are allowing ourselves to sleep in longer than usual, start later and finish later," Arezzolo said.
"As a result, we could be working later in the day, exposed to late-night laptop lights and thus more awake in the evening."
HOW TO FIX IT
To help get your circadian rhythm back on track, Karp suggests looking at your routine as well as perhaps buying a white noise machine or melatonin supplement to help you drift off more easily.
"Doing something during the day that's predictable" – whether it's work or exercise – is also helpful, he advised.
"Routines are good so get yourself up in the morning. When people are in lockdown they sometimes get kind of lazy or slothful and they hang out in bed until 11am and have a late breakfast and eat a late lunch and then eat a late dinner," Dr Karp said.
"It's also good to do practices like mindfulness practices or meditation because that generally lowers your stress and gives you a good habit or good skill that you can use to help you fall asleep when you do go to bed."
As well as avoiding light from screens at night, Arezzolo suggests waking up with intention in the morning.
"Set an alarm – the time you no longer scroll – and label the alarm 'Sleep Better'," she said.
"Not only does this act as a pattern interrupt, it also reminds you of the 'why' behind the action – thus increasing the likelihood you'll follow through."