7 Healthy Sleep Tips for Veterans
November 11, 2020
Healthy sleep habits – also referred to as having good sleep hygiene – can make a big difference in your quality of life. Despite its importance, studies suggest roughly 76-89% of veterans are sleep deprived. Recognizing this, Legal Help For Veterans has gathered a list of 7 Healthy Sleep Tips for Veterans to help you take control of your sleeping habits:
1. Set a Sleep Schedule
Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. When possible, give yourself extra time before bed to wind down and get ready for sleep.
2. Practice Wind Down Routines
A relaxing, routine activity at least 30 minutes before bedtime and away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress, or anxiety, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Activities like quiet reading, low impact stretching, and listening to soothing music are great ways to get in the right frame of mind for sleep.
3. Avoid Naps!
To sleep better at night, it is important to nap with caution. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you cannot fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
4. Exercise Daily
Daily exercise comes with great benefits for your overall health, and the changes it initiates in energy production and body temperature regulation can promote solid sleep. Many sleep experts advise against intense exercise close to bedtime because it can disrupt our body’s ability to effectively settle down before bedtime.
5. Evaluate Your Bedroom
Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses.
Make the room attractive and inviting for sleep, but also try avoiding any light disruption as well. Excess light exposure can throw off your sleep and circadian rhythm – the 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock. Blackout curtains over your windows or a sleep mask over your eyes can prevent excess light from disrupting your rest.
6. Avoid Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Large Meals
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine can disrupt your sleep.
Eating fatty or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you are still hungry.
7. Talk to Your Doctor
If you are still having trouble sleeping, consulting a medical professional is your best chance to get serious sleep issues resolved. Always consider speaking with your doctor if you notice your sleep problems are worsening, affecting your health and safety, or if they occur alongside other unexplained health problems.
For more sleep tips from the Sleep Foundation, click here. Legal Help For Veterans, PLLC fights for the rights of Veterans and their dependents. We fight to make sure you receive the disability benefits you deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Receive a Free Claim Evaluation online, or call (800) 693-4800.