What’s keeping you up at night? The global pandemic? The time change? Anxiously awaiting the results of the 2020 presidential election? Maybe all of the above.
About one-third of Americans say they’re more tired than usual the day after election night, according to a survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. East Coast voters are slightly more likely to be “extremely tired” (12%) than those on the West Coast (10%), as the timing of results announcements comes later in the evening.
“Election night stressors and non-stop news coverage can create an environment that is not conducive to healthy sleep. Not only are individuals more likely to stay up past their bedtime to see election results, they are more likely to consume coverage across multiple platforms simultaneously,” said Dr. Kannan Ramar, president of the AASM. “Blue light emitted by screens prevents the production of melatonin, the hormone which signals to the brain that it’s time for sleep. This physical impact of blue light exposure, combined with the mental and emotional toll of election anxiety, can fuel a state of mind which inhibits sleep.”
Below are tips from the AASM to achieve restful sleep on election night and wake prepared for the day ahead:
- Avoid consuming caffeine six hours before your anticipated bedtime to ensure sleep is not impacted.
- Avoid alcohol, as it can induce sleep and impact your sleep cycle and quality.
- Watch election night coverage on a television outside of the bedroom to minimize blue light exposure and reinforce the bedroom as a space for sleep.
- Keep your phone out of the bedroom to resist the temptation of social media.
- Obtain a minimum of seven hours of sleep.
- Head outdoors the next morning, as sunlight exposure will help regulate your circadian rhythm.
Some experts believe the outcome of the 2020 election won’t be apparent on election night anyway, so save yourself the stress and go to bed at your regular time.