Coronavirus News: Smart tips to help you sleep

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- If high anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic are keeping you up at night, you are not alone.

Dr. Sue Ming, from Rutgers Medical School, provides some tips on getting a better night's sleep.

"Any activity like a hot bath, exercise, an argument, or watching a horror movie increases our adrenaline and is counterproductive for sleep," she said.

When trying to fall asleep, the human body wants to be as cool as possible. The average temperature in your bedroom should be cool as well so that crawling under the covers is extra cozy.

Dr. Ming adds that watching television before bed is not recommended.

Bright lights from television or even some e-books trigger the human brain to read that light like sunlight and cue a wake-up response instead. Reading a paperback book is best.

Drinking alcohol right before bed might relax you initially, but will cause a restless night's sleep.

"Large amounts of alcohol can induce you to go to sleep, but a few hours later, alcohol level will be reduced, you will wake up, making your sleep will be disrupted," Dr. Ming said.

Another good suggestion is to avoid large meals right before bedtime. Dr. Ming says that your last meal of the day should be your lightest.

"I try to eat before six," Dr. Ming said. "A full stomach can cause reflux, and that can disrupt your sleep and may even stop your breathing."

Deep breathing exercises in a dark room and stretches can help the body relax before bedtime.

"I will do deep breathing, first I inhale to the maximum volume into my lungs, and then I hold it as long as I can. Then I let it go," Dr. Ming said. "I will let my toes reach as far as they can to the wall, and then my fingers also reach up over my head, trying to reach the opposite side of the wall."

Most importantly, don't just get frustrated. If none of these techniques seem to work, Dr. Ming suggests that you get up, do something boring, then return to bed and try again.


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