The following is one of many articles from Vets Help Center to offer support and insight to war vets.
5 Ways Veterans Can Boost Their Sleep and Mental Health
Are you a veteran who is sick and tired of being tired? You’re not alone. Veterans are commonly impacted by sleep issues, which can have detrimental effects on their mental health. Since mental health can also be a stressful issue for veterans, it’s important to have the resources and information you need to make improvements to the quality of your sleep and overall well-being. That’s where these simple wellness and health tips from Vets Help Center can come in handy:
Seek Out Social Connections
Mental health and sleep can be closely intertwined, which means that if you are struggling with depression and other emotional issues, finding relief could also help you find better sleep. One way you can take better care of your mental health is to stay socially connected, especially after your separation from active duty service. Social connections are essential for both your mental and physical health, so look for ways to stay in touch with friends, family members, and even other veterans. If you’re missing out on the comradery you felt while serving, you can also check out your local VFW or American Legion chapter to meet up with fellow veterans. Joining one of these organizations can be a great way for veterans to stay socially connected so they can boost their mental health and sleep.
Eliminate Sleep Disruptors
Do you wake up with jaw pain or headaches? Have your teeth been chipping or cracking? If so, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth at night, which reduces your sleep quality and can lead to other problems that make it more difficult to sleep. The good news is that it’s easy to solve this issue with nighttime aligners. They provide a soft, slick surface between your top and bottom teeth so they don’t wear down, and as a bonus, they can even straighten your smile in as little as 10 hours a day. There are a lot of options for aligners (with Byte and Smile Direct Club among the most popular), so consult an online buying guide to help you decide which option is right for helping you sleep more soundly.
Schedule More Time for Self-Care
Many people seem to think that self-care is a luxury, self-care is actually a basic necessity for managing mental and physical health. So if you are not making self-care a priority, you could be putting yourself under more pressure and strain that can lead to more issues with your mental health, and of course, your sleep. For maximum sleep benefits, try adding relaxing self-care to your evening routines. Unwinding with a hot shower or breathing exercises can help quiet any thoughts keeping you up at night and prepare your body for sleep. If you tend to have racing thoughts that make it hard to fall asleep, you can also keep a journal by your bed so that you can get them onto paper and off of your mind at bedtime.
Shop for a New Mattress
Are you still sleeping on a full-size mattress leftover from basic training? Upgrading to a quality queen-sized mattress could be the key to improving your sleep. A queen mattress can be a great option for individuals and couples alike, providing more space to sleep without taking up too much space in your home. Having a bigger mattress can actually be better for couples and provides more room when sleeping with your partner. Sleep style and support needs can impact your mattress choice, but brands like Purple and Nectar have multiple options that could be a good fit. Finding the right mattress is one of the most basic steps you can take to reduce discomfort and disturbances during the night, so no matter what size you buy, you should make sure you purchase the best bed for your body type, needs, and sleep preferences.
Search for Veteran Benefits & Support
When you are constantly missing out on quality sleep, you are doing some pretty serious damage to your body and brain. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to chronic disease, cognitive impairments, and even premature death. So if improvements to your bedroom or routine don’t seem to improve your sleep, you may need to reach out to professionals. Thankfully, the VA does offer help with sleep issues, since many veterans experience sleep issues after their separation, particularly if they have PTSD. You can use these benefits to complete sleep studies and you can work with your healthcare provider to create a treatment plan that will reduce those sleepless nights. If stress about your mental health is making it difficult to sleep at night, you can also seek mental health help from your local VA or veteran organizations.
If you want to get back on track with your life and improve your mental well-being, you have to find ways to get back on track with your sleep. The tips above can be helpful for improving all aspects of overall health, but they can be especially beneficial for enhancing your sleep and taking back control of your life.
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