As an emergency physician, Alister Martin, MD, MPP, MGH Emergency Medicine, learned countless lessons working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Common issues that can produce or worsen insomnia:
- Inconsistent bedtimes and wake times
- Trying to go to sleep too early
- Excessive time in bed squeezing out more sleep
- Dozing in the evening before bed
Helpful hints to get the best sleep:
- Try to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep nightly
- Avoid alcohol within 5 hours of bedtime and caffeine after noon
- Keep electronics out of the bedroom
- Only try to sleep if you are sleepy. It doesn’t make sense to get into bed and try to sleep if you are not sleepy. It is only going to make you upset, frustrated and produce insomnia-phobia–the fear that you are not going to get a good night’s rest
- If you are up at night and your mind is racing, it is best to try relaxing and distracting activities rather than trying to lie in bed and force sleep for the rest of the night, which generally doesn’t work. Try reading, doing puzzles, or listening to a podcast or the sound of waves or rain
- If you have loud snoring, leg kicking, acting out dreams, or excessive daytime sleepiness, you should consult your primary care physician to get an evaluation for a sleep disorder
- If you are having chronic sleep problems such as insomnia, you should talk to your primary care physician who may refer you to a sleep specialist
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