COVID-19: Expert reveals why we're all so exhausted during level 4 lockdown, gives tips for boosting energy

You'll be hard-pressed to find many people who say Monday morning is their favourite time of the week, but that is especially true this week with the possibility for another week in lockdown for much of the country. 

Even though most of us - not counting you, wonderful essential workers - have much less work or social activity during the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown, anecdotal evidence on social media reveals many of us are still limping through the days feeling absolutely shattered. 

A feeling of great malaise has gripped the nation... so why are we so exhausted in lockdown? 

It's for good reason, psychologist Tara Hurster told And no, it's not because you don't have access to your usual morning flat white from the cafe next door. 

Well, it's not just because of that. 

"There are a number of reasons that lockdown can leave us feeling more tired," she said.

"When we feel stress and anxiety, our brain believes there is a threat to our safety, and we naturally want to run away from or fight the threat." 

That feeling plays havoc with our usual rest time, including sleep. 

It's a sentiment echoed by Dr Natasha Bijlani, who told UK health website Priory amid the pandemic "many of us are experiencing a degree of anxiety, even if it is at a low-grade background level, which in turn is likely to be affecting our ability to sleep well at night". 

She gave several sleep hygiene habits we should be implementing in lockdown, which will stop that usual 3pm lethargy hitting all day. 

Stick to the usual schedule

"Maintain a regular sleep-wake routine, ensuring you allow adequate time for your individual sleep needs, even if you don't have to get up to travel to work. We are able to function better when we keep to a regular rhythm like this," said Dr Bijlani.

"[And] avoid the temptation to press the snooze button in the morning. You won't be able to sleep soundly in these short intervals, and will only end up feeling more tired."

Keep to cat naps

"If you do feel like you need to catch up on sleep during the day, take a short nap that lasts for no longer that 20 to 30 minutes. If you take longer, then it is likely to affect your sleep later that night." 

Go light on the booze and coffee (sorry)

"Stay hydrated during the day as going to bed even mildly dehydrated can disrupt your sleep, but avoid drinking anything too close to bedtime. And don't have an alcoholic 'night cap', as this can actually disrupt the quantity and structure of your sleep. Also, avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.' 

Three square meals 

"Eat regular and healthy meals. Our bodies work better when we keep to a regular routine, so try to eat at similar times every day, without eating too close to your bedtime."

Get out of the boudoir 

"Try not to spend much time in your bedroom during the day. Ideally, this room should be a place where you can switch off and go to sleep."