GOLDEN VALLEY, Minnesota — It's been an unsettling and anxious couple of weeks to say the least. That anxiety can lead to sleepless nights for many of us, so we spoke with Dr. Samantha Anders, PhD, LP, for some tips to navigate nighttime.
“It is unfortunately quite normal when we're under stress, which I think we can probably argue that everybody is under stress of some kind or another right now, that we have trouble sleeping,” says Dr. Anders.
TIP #1 Limit your news and when you get it.
“What do I need to know to protect myself and my communities, how do I need to change my behavior, are there other things I need to know?" “But do you have to read every single article that's written about this? No,” she says.
“And, perhaps not watching or consuming too much media after dinner.” “If we rev up our brains by filling them up with a bunch of terrible stuff right before we go to sleep, it's hard to go to sleep,” she adds.
TIP #2 Get some exercise.
"It's good for both sleep and anxiety, plus it has the added benefit of keeping your cardiovascular system healthy, which is something that is very important in terms of staying healthy in the context of this virus."
TIP #3 Stick to a routine.
“People might be tempted to sleep in, or go to bed later, but I don't recommend that. So, I recommend sticking to the schedule that makes you feel good." “Sticking to a wake-up time, and bedtime, and not napping during the day is actually going to make your nighttime sleep much better,” says Dr. Anders.
TIP #4 Reserve your bed for sleep only.
"Our beds become associated with whatever we do in them, and so especially right now, we want to be really pretty strict with this.” “Wait until your eyes are tired, they're closing, then you get into bed you're much more likely to have a good night sleep."
TIP #5 Try to stay in the present.
“Gosh, isn't this a tall order right now? So, everybody is struggling with this. Humans, we like to know what's going to happen don't we? What can I control and what can't I control? And right now, you can control your present, you can control your focus on being in this present moment, social distancing, getting exercise, maintaining good and healthy habits, connecting with others, through the computer."
"If you reduce your anxiety you're going to sleep better, and if you sleep better, you're going to reduce your anxiety,” Dr. Anders says.