Although anyone can suffer from insomnia, veterans are especially at risk of this condition. This is mainly due to the traumatic and stressful events in their military life. Unfortunately, insomnia can seriously affect one’s quality of life and physical and mental health. For instance, chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease are just some of the health issues linked to lack of sleep. If you wish to tackle insomnia and adopt healthy sleeping habits, here are several strategies you could try.
Going to sleep at the same time each night
Going to bed and waking up every day at the same time can help you reinforce the circadian rhythm. In the beginning, you may have difficulty falling asleep, but after a while, your body will learn to go to sleep at the same time every night. As a result, your bodily functions and cycles will operate more efficiently, and you will feel much more energized.
Falling asleep during the day, even for 15 minutes, can make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night. Therefore, try to avoid taking naps in the afternoon. However, in order to stay awake, avoid drinking coffee. Instead, opt for herbal teas that won’t disrupt your evening routine.
Ensure you are comfortable
To ensure a good night’s sleep, you need to make sure that nothing is making you uncomfortable. Therefore, do not hesitate to invest in a quality mattress, good pillows, and covers. Sites such as Anatomy of Sleep offer useful and detailed reviews, so you can easily and quickly find your best option.
Avoid smoking and drinking coffee
As mentioned, drinking coffee in the afternoon is not recommended for those struggling with a lack of sleep. If you enjoy a good cup of coffee, make sure you drink it at least 5 to 6 hours before sleep. In case you are a smoker, you should avoid smoking during that time as well. Studies show that smoking is associated with shorter sleep duration. Such sleep issues are mainly attributed to nicotine which is present in tobacco products. This substance has stimulant properties that can be responsible for insomnia.
Put the phone away
When it is time to go to bed, the last thing your brain needs is more information. Scrolling through social media, checking your messages or emails right before bed can keep your brain engaged. However, it is not just the data from your phone that is problematic. The light on your screen mimics daylight and can affect your internal body clock and mess up your circadian rhythm, causing you to have trouble sleeping. Therefore, avoid looking at your phone at least an hour before you go to bed. Instead, grab a book or read a magazine.
Staying physically active can not only have a positive effect on your physical health but your mental well-being as well. Individuals who exercise on a regular basis are able to fall asleep faster and sleep longer. They also have an improved quality of sleep. Luckily, there is no need to do some heavy lifting. In fact, simple moderate aerobic exercise will help with other symptoms linked to insomnia. However, keep in mind that you should complete your exercise routine at least three hours before you go to bed. That way you won’t have too much adrenaline in your system, preventing you from falling asleep.
Take baby steps
Don’t force anything. If you spend more than 20 minutes lying in your bed, not able to fall asleep, get up, take a walk around your home, read a book for 20 minutes or listen to some soothing music. Afterward, go back to bed and try again.
Spend some time in the sun
Every morning try to get at least 45 minutes of sunlight. According to experts, this can help you sleep better at night. On the other hand, during the night, make sure your room is completely dark. Before you go to bed, close the curtains or blinds or put an eye mask on. You can also use earplugs if needed.
Insomnia can lead to various health issues, from heightened blood pressure to heart problems. Hopefully, these steps could help you overcome sleep problems and adopt healthy sleep habits.