by Erin Silver
Getting the recommended amount of sleep is important at any time. But during a hurricane, it can be hard to do much other than worry.
It’s all the more reason to try get some sleep. It will help you be more alert during the day so you can think clearly and function effectively during an emergency. Proper sleep also boosts your physical strength, energy and immune system. Sleep can help you cope with your emotions and adapt to stress. When we don’t get enough sleep, we can make bad decisions or have accidents we wouldn’t ordinarily have had. And while gentle rain can be soothing, the crackling and snapping of trees and howling winds during a storm can keep you wide awake.
Here are some tips to help you sleep during a hurricane.
- Shutter your house properly against the wind and close the blinds. Once your hurricane preparedness plan is in place and you know your house is safe, it’s easier to relax.
- Go to an interior room of your house, preferably one without windows. Avoid windows, glass doors and skylights. Drag a mattress or comfortable mat into the room before bed.
- Take a power nap if you can. This will help fight fatigue and enable you to make the best possible decisions during the rest of the day—or night.
- Wear comfortable clothes and bring a favourite pillow and blanket to your room. For kids, have any stuffed animals, toys or blankets that help them feel safe and cozy.
- Try not to sleep alone—even a pet will comfort you, and you will be a comfort to them, too.
- Use a white noise machine or play soothing music to avoid focussing on the storm outside and to block out any noise. Ear plugs can help as well.
- Read a book—especially a boring one to lull you to sleep. Keep a flashlight handy so you can read.
- Try deep breathing to calm your nervous system. Stretching or moving through some yoga poses before bed can also help you relax.
- During the day, avoid caffeine as much as possible. If you can’t sleep, try warm milk if you have it or a light snack.
- Try not to worry. Reassure yourself that you will get through this and that everything will be okay. This kind of mantra can be repeated over and over again as you fall asleep, sort of like counting sheep.
In short, it’s important to get sleep. In fact, it’s just as important as proper nutrition and exercise. This year, add sleep to your emergency preparedness plan.