Much of the country right now is watching the damage being caused by Hurricane Florence in North Carolina and South Carolina, as The Weather Channel and others go to wall-to-wall coverage with reporters all over the area. The situation is unfolding in slow motion, as the hurricane literally creeps down the coast. This means that wall-to-wall coverage isn’t going away any time soon, and for those who live in the mid-Atlantic or those who are simply interested in hurricanes, that means 24-hours of must see TV.
News events such as this can have a way of stealing your sleep. The TV stations don’t want you to leave, so they keep talking about what’s coming up next, and then what’s coming up after that, and so on. Staying up late to watch the coverage, and thus losing sleep for one night, isn’t something to be concerned about. The problem comes when you follow it up with another bad night’s sleep after that. With a multi-day event like Hurricane Florence, several nights of bad sleep is a possibility if you become transfixed by the news coverage.
So what can you do?
The easy answer is to turn off the television and go to bed at your normal time. But, that may not even be enough. If your mind is racing about what’s going on in the areas where the hurricane is hitting, you may not be able to go to sleep for a little while. It’s actually better to turn the TV off before you normally go to bed, and read a paper (not electronic) book for 15 to 20 minutes. This will distract your mind and help you fall asleep quicker when you do turn off the light.
If you must stay up late to watch the news coverage, perhaps because you’re in an area that might be impacted by the storm, try to go to sleep earlier than usual for the next couple of nights to make up the “sleep debt”. Also, there may be a temptation to guzzle coffee and other caffeinated beverages while you’re exhausted. Resist the urge to have them in the afternoon, however, as they may keep you awake when you can finally get some shut-eye.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide if a news event is worth losing sleep over. If you decide to stay up even though you won’t get enough rest, do the best you can to mitigate the lost sleep.