Anxiety Busters: Techniques for Better Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep can help combat anxiety caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, provides techniques for sleeping better during the pandemic.

Dr. Paul Bulman, Supervising Psychologist, sitting in an office discussing techniques for better sleep during COVID-19.
Transcript

Getting a good night's sleep is very important for your emotional health. But during times of stress, our brain can try to stay more activated in order to be on guard against danger, and that can interfere with sleep. Also during this public health crisis so many of us have schedules that are so different than usual. And if you're not leaving your home to go to work or school, you might not need to wake up at your usual time or go to sleep at the time that you usually would. In fact you might find yourself going to sleep at different times each night and waking up at different times each day. And that can throw off the internal clock that your body has for helping you to go to sleep at a certain time and to stay sleeping until a certain time. So here are 10 tips for getting a good night's sleep. Number one, have a consistent sleep schedule. Wake up at the same time every morning, even if you don't have anywhere to go. Having a set schedule, helps set your body sleep clock so that it knows when to help you fall asleep at night and went to help you wake up in the morning. Number two, avoid naps during the day. If you must nap, keep it short, half an hour or less and only in the morning or at the latest in the early afternoon. Number three, stay active during the day. If it's possible, go outside, get some daylight, that helps people fall asleep at night. Number four, use your bed only for sleep. Don't lay in bed while doing things like playing on your phone or watching TV. You want your brain to associate being in bed with going to sleep. Number five, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening. Both of those can affect your sleep quality. Number six, exercising during the day is great for sleep, but don't exercise too close to bedtime that can keep you awake. Number seven, take a warm shower or bath around one to two hours before bedtime, that helps your body temperature drop to a nice level so that you can fall asleep at bedtime. Number eight, eat healthy during the day and don't have a big meal that's too close to bedtime. You want to give your digestive system a little bit of time to work and to digest that meal before you go to sleep. Number nine, around 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime, start avoiding electronics, cell phones, tablets, TV, computers, all of these are sending a wavelength of blue light to your eyes, that can confuse your brain and make it think that it's daytime. So avoid those electronics if at all possible. If you really can't, look on your device for a blue light filter, that's gonna filter out that type of light. Number 10, have a relaxing bedtime ritual, each night before you go to bed, do the same relaxing activities, in the same order. That's gonna help your brain to know when to start producing melatonin to make you sleepy. Here's a few extra tips. Make sure that your bedroom is quiet dark and a little bit cool. If other people are being noisy, try using a nice relaxing sound app or a loud fan to drown out that noise. Also if there are lots of thoughts in your head, making it difficult to fall asleep, try keeping a journal by your bed and write those thoughts down. Tell yourself that, those thoughts are now safe in the journal and I'm not gonna forget them, they're right there for me to look at and think about and do something about when I wake up in the morning. Also try to get the amount of sleep that's right for you. Most adults need around seven to nine hours, kids need even more. And on the other hand, don't go to sleep unless you're actually feeling sleepy. Don't keep a clock by your bed. But if it feels like you've been laying in bed for around 15 minutes and you're not falling asleep, don't sweat it. Just get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Then try again. Try using these tips to get a good night's sleep and remember, it can take some time to create a healthy sleep schedule. So if first you don't succeed, keep trying.

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What to Know


COVID-19: Basics

Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains what COVID-19 is, how it spreads and who is at risk. 

This video reflects the latest information available.

Wondering how to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19? Learn prevention methods from Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Fever, sore throat, shortness of breath? Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist at Montefiore, explains.

When and how should you seek medical care? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains care at home, when to go to a hospital and testing. 

This video reflects the latest information available.

Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shares important steps to take if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as information on research and clinical trials for potential treatments Montefiore-Einstein is conducting. 

This video reflects the latest information available.

Social Distancing

How can you stay safe in and around your home? Montefiore’s Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist Dr. Theresa Madaline explains how to get in and out of your building safely and how to practice safe social distancing if you must leave home.

Is it ok to be outside? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, discusses going outside, how to exercise safely, and whether passing runners or dogs can transmit COVID-19.

How can essential workers stay safe? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains how essential workers can protect themselves at their job and take public transport safely.

Can one person make an impact? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains how social distancing works and how you can make an impact.

Protection

How should you wash your hands? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains how to wash your hands and how often.

What’s the best way to keep your home safe? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shows how to keep your home protected and how to safely handle food and deliveries.

How do you get groceries safely? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, discusses how to shop safely for groceries.

Family Care

What if a family member gets COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains what to do if someone in your home gets sick.

What if a parent gets COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, discusses what parents or single parents should do if they get sick.

Can you get reinfected with COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains what is currently known about COVID-19 immunity and the possibility of reinfection.

How do you care for an older family member who’s home alone? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains how to safely care for elderly family members during COVID-19.

Are there any extra precautions pregnant women should take regarding COVID-19? Montefiore's Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shares ways expectant mothers can keep themselves and their unborn babies safe.

Physical Recovery

How long is a person with COVID-19 contagious? Montefiore's Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shares the latest information on how to protect others.

Can I get re-infected with COVID-19? Montefiore's Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shares the most current information about COVID-19 immunity and the possibility of re-infection.

What does it mean if my COVID-19 symptoms return, and what should I do? Montefiore's Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains what it means if symptoms return and what to do.

 

Mental Health and Coping


Mental Health Myths

Is it normal to think about COVID-19 all the time? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses why it's normal and whether to seek help.

Why am I always anxious? Do I have COVID-19? Will I lose my job? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how part of our brain works to keep us safe from something that could go wrong, and where and when to seek help for COVID-19 anxiety.

Why can’t I deal with my COVID-19 feelings on my own? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains why it’s not weak to ask for help and why you might need assistance coping with COVID-19.

I’m supposed to be providing COVID-19 help, not asking for it. Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses why healthcare workers should ask for and receive COVID-19 help.

Will people judge me for seeking help for my fears and anxieties about COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains ways to overcome concerns about being judged, and why seeking support to cope during this time is perfectly fine and necessary.

I'm just too busy with family and work. How can I find time for my COVID-19 feelings? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains why finding time is important for our self-care, and recommends small things we can do to talk about our COVID-19 feelings that can fit into a busy schedule.

How can a therapist help me cope with COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains the tools a therapist can provide to help you handle COVID-19, what happens in a session and what to talk about.

I’ve had therapy, and I’m not sure how it can help with COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains what COVID-19 treatment looks like and which approach might work best. 

COVID-19 and Relationships

How can I best stay home with a partner? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses ways to work through the challenges of staying home with another person, as well as things to work on together.

How can I best stay home alone? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, shares tools and techniques to help single people stay home, which can help with social isolation.

How do I juggle work, life and COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses ways to maintain focus and a healthy work-life balance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and Managing Feelings

How do I manage my feelings of anger toward COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses why it's normal to have strong feelings about COVID-19, how to recognize triggers and things we can do to manage anger.

How do I deal with feeling lonely in isolation? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses managing feelings of isolation during COVID-19, and how to seek help.

How do I deal with my anxiety about finances affected by COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how to manage financial fears during the crisis.

How can I manage addictive behaviors during COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how to avoid negative coping methods during the crisis.

How do I deal with the human toll from COVID-19 and the impact on life as we know it? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how to cope with the loss of normalcy and changes in our lives as a result of the crisis.

Anxiety Busters

Taking a deep breath can help reduce anxiety. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, demonstrates ways to breathe better when feeling anxious about COVID-19.

Balancing negative thinking with positivity can help reduce anxiety about COVID-19. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, shows how making a gratitude list can spark positive thinking.

Focusing on the moment can help reduce COVID-19 anxiety. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, shares techniques for staying present during this difficult time.

Negative thoughts can create more anxiety. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, provides techniques to combat negative thinking during the COVID-19 crisis, including knowing the triggers and the 3 questions to ask.

Getting a good night's sleep can help combat anxiety caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, provides techniques for sleeping better during the pandemic.

Keeping your body active is a great way to relieve anxiety and can boost your immune system. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, provides ways to work in regular exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic for physical and mental health.

Essential Workers and COVID-19

Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Dana Crawford, explains how essential workers and their families can handle concerns arising from COVID-19 work.

Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Dana Crawford, explains how the family and close friends of essential workers can navigate concerns arising from their loved ones’ COVID-19 work.

As an essential worker, how can I best handle conversations about COVID-19 with my loved ones? Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Dana Crawford gives essential workers tips on how to have conversations about COVID-19 with loved ones.

If my loved one is an essential worker, how can I best handle sharing my concerns about COVID-19? Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Dana Crawford offers advice on how to communicate about COVID-19 with loved ones who are essential workers.

Surviving COVID-19

What's it like to survive COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Miguelina Germán, Psychologist and Director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services, shares her personal experience with COVID-19. She talks about quarantining with her family in a two-bedroom apartment, coping with her fiancé contracting COVID-19, asking friends for help and emotionally working through her diagnosis. She also offers advice based on what she learned during this experience.

What happens after recovering from COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Miguelina Germán, Psychologist and Director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services, shares her personal experience after recovering from COVID-19, and what she learned about symptoms coming back and the importance of self-care after recovery.

Who to tell about your positive COVID-19 diagnosis and when? Montefiore’s Dr. Miguelina Germán, Psychologist and Director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services, discusses life living with COVID-19, how she decided which family and friends to contact and when was the right time to tell them about her positive diagnosis.

Parenting During COVID-19

How can parents talk about what's happening as a result of COVID-19 with kids of all ages? Montefiore's Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Dr. Sandra Pimentel, discusses how to help kids understand COVID-19 using techniques to encourage talking about their feelings resulting from the life changes and uncertainty they're experiencing because of the pandemic, and how parents can model coping methods to help kids make more sense of their world.

How can I help a teenager cope with the life changes and risks caused by COVID-19? Montefiore's Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Dr. Sandra Pimentel, discusses ways to help teens cope with uncertainty and loss due to COVID-19, as well as taking the risks of contracting or spreading the virus seriously.

How can parents manage both their stress and the stress inflicted on their families by COVID-19? Montefiore's Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Dr. Sandra Pimentel, shares techniques to help cope and manage stress in these unprecedented times.

What are red flags I should look for to know if my child needs help? Dr. Sandra Pimentel, Montefiore’s Chief Child and Adolescent Psychologist, shares advice for parents of children struggling during COVID-19 and explains what therapy looks like for children, including virtual health options.

Trusted Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The leading national public health institute of the United States
 

NY.gov

For the latest COVID-19 guidelines and information from New York State 

World Health Organization

UN agency responsible for international public health