Getting Sleep

Taking a Moment: Mindful ways to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic

Aron Steward, PhD

Today I'm going to talk to about how to help yourself go to sleep at night. Sleep is so important in all that you're doing, and it's really important in recovering from what you see and feel during the day. If we're not getting enough rest, we don't have the capacity to make good decisions in quick ways and we need to be able to do that in preparation for our surge for COVID-19.

So we have to be getting good sleep, and sometimes your body just needs to know that everything's okay enough to go to sleep at nighttime. The way that we do that is to have a practice before you go to bed of settling your brain and body down. And, it's a gratitude practice.

The reason why gratitude works really well is because we need to know that there's still pleasure and joy and love and freedom going on around us when we're seeing difficult, challenging and frightening things all day long at work. Gratitude does that for us, because it reminds us what's good in our life,  what we love and what we care about.

So the tip is a gratitude practice before sleep. Here is how to do it. You're going to do your sleep routine, whatever that is. Remember:

  • No screen time an hour before bed
  • Practice good sleep hygiene
  • Do all the things that you normally do: listen to music, brush your teeth, wash your hair, etc.

Once you get in bed, I want you to ask yourself the question, “What are three things I'm grateful for right now?”

They can be tiny and they can be huge. They can be people or places. They can be anything to remind your brain that there are things in this world that you love and are attached to. What are the three things that you are grateful for right now?

And that’s going to remind your brain and body that it's okay to go to sleep because there are still good things going on.

So the tip of the day is gratitude practice before you go to sleep. I so appreciate the time with you today. Thanks for letting me be on your team. Thanks for all the work you're doing. I'll see you next time.

Robert Althoff, MD and Aron Steward , PhD from CVPH Psychiatry offer tips and information about coping during this time of crisis.