Veterans tend to get much less sleep than the recommended 7 to 9 hours. In fact, Forbes points to surveys that say 70 percent of veterans toss and turn at night. Unfortunately, insomnia and mental health are often connected, and when one suffers, the other can suffer as well. For the sake of your well-being, getting a good night’s sleep is a must. If you’re counting sheep at night, read on for some strategies that can help.
Invest in a New Mattress
Old mattresses can interfere with your health and sleep in several ways, but many people continue sleeping on them long past their lifespan. Your mattress could not only get lumps and sags, but it could also harbor mites, mold, and dust.
Another way your mattress could interfere with sleep is the size. If your partner is rolling over and making the bed quake, or if your limbs are hanging off, it’s a good time to consider an upgrade.
According to MySlumberYard, queen-sized mattresses are the most popular choice in the United States due to their generous and versatile size. Queen size mattresses are spacious and particularly accommodating for taller folks—but won’t take over your entire bedroom like a king-size might.
Take a look at different mattress brands to find the best option for your sleep style and firmness preferences. For example, Leesa mattresses work well for combination sleepers who want a medium-firmness bed. If you’re looking for that classic, dense memory foam feel, a Nectar mattress may fit your needs a little better.
Limit Noise, Light, and Clutter
Another way to upgrade your sleeping environment is to do some redecorating in your bedroom. Did you know that even small amounts of light can disrupt your sleep? Try to banish light from your bedroom completely by hanging blackout curtains over your windows. You may also have to remove electronics that emit small amounts of light when turned off.
Similarly, quiet sounds can also be disruptive, so consider purchasing a white noise machine or have a fan running during the night to mask any sudden noises that may threaten your peaceful sleep.
Finally, take some time to declutter your bedroom. Good Housekeeping explains that clutter can induce feelings of anxiety—the last thing you want when lying down at night! Try to remove anything from your bedroom that doesn’t contribute to feelings of peace and relaxation.
Maintain a Strict Sleep Schedule
Besides improving your bedroom, there are also some healthy habits you can adopt to sleep better at night. Sticking to a consistent sleep-wake schedule is one of the best things you can do for your sleep quality. In fact, some research indicates that going to bed at the same time every night may be more important than the amount of sleep you get! You may find it helpful to set an evening alarm if you have trouble getting to bed on time.
Follow an Evening Routine
Developing an evening routine can help you stick to your sleep schedule more easily. Bedtime routines act as a kind of barrier between our stimulating waking lives and restful sleep, helping us transition from one into the other. Incorporate some calming activities into your evening routine, such as reading, meditating, light stretching, and deep breathing.
During this time, try to avoid food and substances that may interfere with your sleep. This includes alcohol and caffeine, but also fatty snacks and spicy foods. If you like to enjoy a bedtime snack, stick to light carbs like crackers or fresh fruit.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your overall health and mental well-being, start taking steps for better sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is a core component of a healthy post-deployment lifestyle. Keep in mind that it may take a while to get your sleep back on track after being discharged from the military. While it may be frustrating, keep up your healthy habits and try different things until you find what works.
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