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If you’re a vet struggling to get enough rest, you’re not alone. In fact, some studies indicate there are veterans at a higher risk for issues like sleep apnea. Good quality slumber on a routine basis is a must to maintain your mental and physical health, though. Whatever is keeping you tossing and turning, here are some tips to help you get the rest that you need and deserve:
Shop for a new mattress.
Perhaps one of the most effective ways you can improve your sleep is to invest in a new mattress. If your current mattress is showing signs of wear and tear or you are waking up with aches and pains, this could mean that it’s time to shop for a new one.
Since there are so many options on the market, narrow your choices to a size that you think will work best. If you’re currently sleeping on a twin-size bed and need more space, consider going up to a queen, which MySlumberYard notes is the most popular bed size among American consumers. When choosing between queen-size mattress options, be sure to factor in your sleep style and firmness preference. For instance, Nectar is known for its superior memory foam mattresses while Leesa is renowned for its soft foam mattresses.
Per Johns Hopkins Medicine, lack of physical activity can have a significant impact on sleep. Make sure you maintain an exercise regimen at least five days a week. This will not only promote your physical health and help you burn energy before bedtime, but it can also yield a number of mental and emotional health benefits, such as boosting your mood and self-confidence. Aim to workout early in the day, since exercise close to bedtime might keep you up.
Manage stress throughout the day.
Stress is one of the most common reasons for sleep problems. There are a number of things you can try that might help you manage your stress throughout the day or to quiet your mind and body before bed. Try doing some mindful meditation, light stretching exercises, or breathing exercises.
Another idea is to keep a gratitude journal. Inc. explains that the process of expressing things you’re thankful for appears to help people sleep better at night. Simply take the time to pen those specific things you are grateful for in your life.
Develop a good bedtime routine.
Lastly, try changing up your bedtime routine. Instead of watching TV or scrolling through social media in bed, leave those activities to an earlier time in the evening in a separate room. Dedicate your bedroom to sleep. Make sure it’s dark, cool, and quiet.
Other things to consider include reading a book, taking a warm bath, and listening to calming music. The Los Angeles Times explains restful music can be a particularly good solution to those struggling with insomnia. Add an app to your phone to enjoy soothing sounds before bed.
If you’re unable to stream music from your phone due to data restrictions or just dislike the tinny sound from that tiny speaker, consider adding a mini stereo system to your bedroom. It’s a small investment in your well-being, and a small radio can easily move to other rooms when you’re entertaining, tinkering with your car, or doing housework.
Talk to professionals.
There’s no substitute for expert advice. If you make some simple changes and continue to have trouble getting rest, there are a couple options available to you. There are therapists who specialize in sleep disorders, even ones who specifically help veterans. Also, consider asking your doctor for a referral to a sleep medicine specialist, which can direct you to potential medications and treatments.
As a veteran, know that you’re not alone if you find sleep hard to come by. But don’t ignore the issue, either. Seek advice from professionals, consider getting a new mattress, and get a good exercise routine and diet going. Also, try different activities that can help you to manage stress, and create a bedtime routine that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Making changes like these could be all that stands in the way of you getting great sleep.
Image via Unsplash
Contributed by Brian Boyd
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