Why Can’t I Sleep? How to Get Better Sleep at Night During the Pandemic

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We all know that good sleep equals better health. Especially in this time of coronavirus, getting good sleep can help you keep up your immune system to ward off complications should you contract the virus. Poor sleep can lead to many health problems with immunity, inflammation, mood, brain function, and mental health. 

Because of the pandemic and staying at home, schedules have been different, and the barrage of news has affected seniors’ sleeping patterns. You may be wondering, why can’t I sleep at night? Here are some tips to get your sleep back to normal.  

12 tips to get your sleep back on track

  1. Turn off devices an hour before bedtime. Research shows that the blue light from a smartphone or tablet can disrupt  your sleep and keep you awake. Before it’s time to go to sleep, put your devices away and take some calming time to yourself. 
  2. Deeper sleep is better than shorter, lighter sleep. Without much going on, it might be tempting to doze off during the day. But taking naps during the day can disrupt your sleep at night. Also, studies show that lighter bouts of sleep are less likely to satisfy your need for sleep than a long stretch of deep sleep. 
  3. Take “me time” before bed – read, stretch, meditate, do yoga, anything that relaxes you. Take this time to focus on anything that you enjoy doing that’s calming to you. It will do wonders for your sleep to take this time to rest your soul and decompress from the day.
  4. Get exercise each day. Taking at least a walk, stretching, or lifting light weights during the day will improve your sleep and allow you to rest more soundly.
  5. Don’t eat or drink right before bed. Eating a big meal or drinking alcohol before bed will only interfere with a restful sleep. Try to eat earlier in the evening so that your body has time to digest. 
  6. Avoid sleeping pills if you can, as these can increase fall risk and lead to memory problems in older adults. Sleeping pills and other similar prescription medications have been shown to alter cognitive function, especially in older adults.
  7. Stick to a schedule throughout the day. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us off, but it will help to keep the same general sleeping, eating, and activity schedule throughout the day in order to keep your sleep on track.
  8. Turn off the news. Watching or reading a lot of news might be stressing you out and raising your blood pressure. Pick a few reputable websites to check only at certain times of the day, so that you’re not barraged all day with stressful news items that have been sensationalized.
  9. Do tough things earlier in the day. Do you have a lot on your to-do list? Tackle the tough things as early as you can in the day. Saving them until later can cause unneeded stress and disrupt your sleep. Plus, you’ll have the rest of the day to focus on other things you want to do.
  10. Write down your worries. Journaling or simply jotting things down can help to take them off your mind. Make a list that you can attend to later. Write down things that you are worried about — and also things you’re thankful for.
  11. Refresh your bed/bedroom. It can make a lot of difference to simply declutter your sleeping space, wash your sheets, or perhaps get new bedding. Adding a splash of freshness to your room can help it to be a peaceful place to rest. 
  12. Use the bed only for sleep. You’ve probably read that you should only use your bed for sleeping, and not for working or other tasks. Saving your bed for rest will keep it a sacred place where your body will know it’s time to wind down. 

We hope these tips will help you as you try to get better sleep. If you think your sleeping problems might be due to a medical problem, see your doctor or mental health professional. 

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