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Sleep Tips for Busy Military Spouses

How To Get To Sleep and Avoid Sleep Deprivation

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, for many military wives the idea of seven to nine hours of sleep may sound impossible. Here are a few tips to help you get the sleep you deserve.

Skip Your Late Afternoon or Evening Caffeine Fix
Caffeine is a stimulant and its effects can remain in your body for up to six hours after consumption. Depending on your sensitivity to caffeine, you may want to skip caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening and opt for a tall glass of water instead. Often, rehydrating your body will give you a much-needed energy boost.

Bedtimes Aren't Just for Kids
Children aren't the only ones who benefit from structured bedtimes, adults do too. A scheduled bedtime sends a signal to your body that it's time for sleep. Have patience as it may take a few nights for your body to reprogram itself.

Relax and Unwind Prior to Bedtime
Many experts advise that you create a relaxation routine prior to your scheduled bedtime. Whether you decide to unwind an hour or 30 minutes before you retire for the night is up to you. A few ways to relax before bedtime include:

  • Reading
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Eating a light snack
  • Deep breathing

Release Your Worries and Fears
Fear, worry and anxiety can create a roadblock between you and a good night's sleep. Before crawling into bed, grab a notebook and write down your fears, worries and concerns, along with any possible solutions that come to mind. By doing so, you're giving yourself permission to acknowledge and release all the internal chatter that often occurs while trying to fall asleep.

If your journaling efforts don't quiet the mental chit-chat, remind yourself that losing sleep over whatever troubles you won't solve the problem – if anything, the sleep deprivation will exacerbate the situation because you won't have the mental clarity that's needed for effective problem-solving. Promise yourself that tomorrow, after you've had a good night's sleep, you'll address the problems and concerns that are on your mind.

Ask for Help
If you're the mother of a newborn or infant and your spouse is deployed, please don't hesitate to ask for help. Most family members and friends want to help you during this difficult time and they'll jump at the chance to offer assistance.

Respite Care
Military spouses who are the primary caregiver to children with disabilities or ill family members, often experience sleep deprivation, especially during a deployment. What many caregivers in this position don't realize is that help is available in the form of respite care.

If you're a caregiver to a special needs child (referred to by the military as an exceptional child) respite services are available through the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) and Tricare's Extended Care Health Option (ECHO).

Getting adequate sleep is vital to your overall health and well-being. If severe anxiety is keeping you awake at night or your insomnia has been ongoing, please seek assistance from a health care professional.

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