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Dr. B. says
We’re in a period of history when we feel threatened by something we can’t see, and life has been turned upside-down. Our brains are wired for survival, so they want to be on the lookout for the enemy that wants to hurt us. The problem is that seeking information, which is the best threat-finding tool we have right now, can make us feel less, not more secure, and can then make it harder to sleep.
I strongly recommend limiting checking the news to once or twice per day for a specified amount of time (e.g., 20-30 minutes), and never looking at news close to bedtime. Also, turn the news alerts off on your phone because that reinforces that threat-seeking tendency. Since our friends and family are also talking about this situation, it’s probably best not to be on social media a lot, especially if you find your anxiety and stress is worse during and just after scrolling through posts. In the evenings, give your brain something else to think about, preferably something enjoyable. That way you can have pleasant thoughts as you’re trying to sleep.
Anne Bartolucci, PhD, CBSM
Dr. Bartolucci is a licensed psychologist and is board-certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, specializing in insomnia. She is the president and clinical director of Atlanta Insomnia & Behavioral Health Services, P.C. and a USA Today bestselling fiction author. Her second nonfiction book Better Sleep for the Overachiever will be released in September 2020.
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