Basic Needs

NutritionFood Services

If you are in need of food and nutrition services, you can visit your local government information page to find local options.

Organizations such as LI Cares and Island Harvest distribute food and goods through multiple locations and agencies. LI Cares can deploy Children’s Food Trucks to neighborhoods in need and mobile services to homebound individuals - Call 631-582-3663.


Financial Assistance

Navigating Unemployment

If you have become unemployed or furloughed, visit the NYS Department of Labor website to review directions for how to file for benefits.
 

Physical Activity

Many of the suggestions for staying well mentally include focusing on our physical health. Physical activity can be an effective way to manage your mood and anxiety during this stressful time. Another silver lining of the current situation is the availability of many free online workout classes or videos.

  • The American College of Sports and Medicine provides guidelines for safely staying active while managing social distancing and quarantine. They share brief ways to stay active, like getting off the couch and taking a stretch break during commercials or before the next episode starts.
  • The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity (like brisk walking or dancing) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity (like running or fast cycling), or a combination, and has provided a guide for keeping up with physical activity while staying safe at home.

Sleep

Due to recent changes in our schedules, increased stress, anxiety, and depression, and inactivity, many of us are experiencing sleep difficulties.  Here are some tips to help improve sleep:

  • Be Consistent.  Go to bed and get up at the same time each day (including on weekends!).  This helps train your body’s sleep and wake rhythms.
  • Exercise. Get regular exercise each day. Exercising regularly can improve restful sleep.
  • Get outside. Get regular exposure to outdoor or bright lights during the day.  If getting outside is not workable for you, opening the blinds and curtains and sitting near a window can also be helpful.
  • Avoid bright lights at night. Minimize or avoid exposure to bright lights and lights from electronic devices (computers, phones, and tablets) within an hour of bedtime. Light from these devices has been linked to disrupted sleep. It’s also helpful to keep the bedroom as dark as possible to facilitate sleep.
  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom comfortable.  A room that’s too hot or too cold can affect sleep.
  • Keep the bedroom quiet when sleeping.  Keeping music or the TV on throughout the night can lead to unnecessary nighttime awakenings. 
  • Use your bed only for sleep (and sexual activity). This will help you associate your bed with sleep instead of other activities associated with being awake like working, talking on the phone, eating, watching TV, or paying bills. 
  • Establish a soothing bedtime routine. A regular, relaxing bedtime routine can help get your body ready for sleep. Relaxing rituals may include a warm bath or shower, aromatherapy, reading, meditation, stretching, or listening to soothing music. 
  • Avoid mood altering substances. This includes caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants can keep us awake or interfere with sleep. Limiting use of stimulants to at least 4-6 hours before bed is important.  It is also best to avoid drinking alcohol at least 4-6 hours before going to bed, since alcohol can impact the quality of sleep.
  • Limit Naps. Long naps (naps that are longer than 10-20 minutes) and napping late in the day can interrupt our sleep cycle and make it more difficult to fall asleep. 
  • Get up and Try Again.  If you are having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and it has been more than 20 minutes, get up and do a relaxing (like deep breathing) or boring (like reading the dictionary) activity.  Once you begin to feel sleepy, return to bed and try again.  You might have to do this a few times before your body is ready to fall asleep.  Using this routine can help limit the association between your bed and being awake. 

More information regarding sleep and sleep hygiene can be found at the following websites:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
American Academy of Sleep Medicine

In addition to healthful sleep hygiene tips, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine also has resources to help individuals with sleep apnea who are using a CPAP machine. 

The National Sleep Foundation

If your sleep difficulties persist, occur often and are getting in the way of your day-to-day activities, consider seeking help from a sleep specialist.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a therapy that’s based on the idea that insomnia can only be treated effectively by addressing the underlying causes — thoughts and behaviors — which are learned and can be unlearned. There are no medications involved. It’s a rapid treatment approach over six weeks, that has proven to be safe and effective in treating chronic insomnia. For more information about CBT-I, how it works via telehealth, or to schedule an initial assessment with a Stony Brook Medicine psychologist who specializes in CBT-I, please call (631) 444-5858 or speak with your primary care physician. 

Stony Brook Sleep Disorders Center features a team of neurologists, pulmonologists and pediatricians who can diagnose and treat insomnia, parasomnia (disturbances such as night terrors and sleepwalking), circadian rhythm disorders, and more. The center specializes in upper airway pressure flow dynamics during sleep and the collapse that leads to sleep apnea, a common disorder that causes many brief interruptions in breathing during the night. Because sleep is so intimately tied to central nervous system function, many patients with neurological conditions such as stroke, migraine, and back pain benefit from the services provided by the center as well. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (631) 444-2500.