8 Tips to Help You Sleep During COVID-19 | News | Loyola Medicine
Friday, May 15, 2020

Loyola Medicine Offers Tips to Help You Sleep During COVID-19

It’s never been harder, or more important, to get a good night’s sleep

image of woman sleeping

MAYWOOD, IL—The uncertainty and fear associated with the COVID-19 virus is causing many Americans to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and yet a good night’s sleep has never been more important.

“Now more than ever, we need to get good sleep,” said Loyola Medicine pulmonologist Amy Guralnick, MD. “Sleep can help our immune system function at its best. Getting a good night’s sleep also helps us to think clearly and to problem-solve better. Additionally, having adequate sleep helps our mental health, as a lack of sleep is linked with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.”

In a new Loyola Medicine video, “COVID-19: Tips for Getting Good Sleep,” Dr. Guralnick highlights important behaviors and considerations to help ensure a consistent good night’s sleep.

  • Set a sleep schedule and follow a routine. “Having a daily, fixed wake up time is the most important part of the schedule,” says Dr. Guralnick.
  • Wind down before bed without technology. In the hours leading up to bedtime, try to avoid viewing any technology with a backlight, “like a phone, a tablet or a computer. Your brain thinks that the light coming from those is daylight and it will suppress the release of a hormone called melatonin which helps put you to sleep.”
  • Consider keeping a “worry journal.” “If you suffer from stress or anxiety consider keeping a worry journal where can write down your daily concerns,” and then set it aside before bedtime.
  • Keep the bed only for sleep and intimacy. “The bed is not for eating or working or reading or pretty much anything else,” says Dr. Guralnick.
  • If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up. “Do something boring, “like a Sudoku, or light reading with a low light. Go back to bed only when you are sleepy, not just bored.”
  • Avoid napping. Napping “eats up your 24-hour sleep requirement. If you have to nap, do it early in the day and for no more than 20 minutes.”
  • Exercise. “Try and stay physically active. It will help your body feel tired and help you fall asleep.”
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both can make it difficult to fall asleep. “Even chocolate and orange soda have caffeine,” says Dr. Guralnick. “And alcohol can also “fragment” sleep, so try to avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime.”

To make an in-person or telehealth appointment with a sleep specialist, or for more information, contact Loyola Medicine at 888-584-7888 or visit loyolamedicine.org.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.