We don’t wade into politics here at SleepBetter.org, but this year’s election has already led to a lot of people losing sleep, and it’s sure to lead to many, many, many more sleeping poorly tonight. Whatever your political stripe, it’s nearly certain that this year is one where you’re concerned about what will happen if the other candidate (or even yours, for that matter) wins. Even if the election is called early tonight, that could lead to a sleepless night.
Losing sleep on one night isn’t something to be concerned about, so long as you make sure you don’t follow it up poor sleep the next night. If you find that you’re up late tonight watching political coverage or simply can’t sleep because of the results, 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. That’s okay early in the day but resist the urge to have them in the afternoon, as they may keep you awake when you can finally get some shut-eye.
If you turn off the TV and find that your mind is racing, you might be better off reading a calming book or magazine (preferably the paper kind, not an e-book) for 15 minutes before you try to sleep. While you’ll turn off the light later, it may lead to you falling asleep sooner because you’re not laying in bed with the lights off and your eyes wide open, still thinking about the news. Some deep breathing exercises or even light meditation may help significantly. Finally, try using a white noise machine that has an option for beach or forest sounds, and imagine yourself in the places where those noises came from.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide if a news event like an election is worth losing sleep over. If you decide to stay up, do the best you can to mitigate the lost sleep tomorrow night and going forward.