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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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Helpful and Affordable Sleep Tips For Veterans
According to research, many veterans have trouble getting a good night’s rest. Some of the issues that can cause disruptions in your sleep are PTSD, restless leg syndrome, and anxiety. It can take some work but having a well-rested night is still possible with these easy-to-implement, budget-friendly tips, presented by Vets Help Center.
Utilize Health Services
According to Health Finder, you should be getting between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. Of the many benefits you can expect when you’re well-rested include a reduction in stress and an improvement in how well your body fights off illnesses. In order to reap the benefits, try to time your sleep habits nightly; our bodies are naturally programmed to get better sleep at night than in the day. If you suspect an illness may be interfering with your sleep, be sure to consult a doctor. If you’re on a tight budget, consider taking advantage of the health services offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. You can access care from persons who are familiar with your specialized needs, and these services are free for up to a year after your separation from the military.
Develop a Bedtime Routine
An effective bedtime routine can be very helpful, especially if you’re dealing with issues like PTSD. There’s no one-size-fits-all routine for everyone, so make sure you find out what works well for you. Some of the things you can try are going to bed at a particular time, trying out some calming exercises close to your bedtime and doing something relaxing like listening to music. Keeping the light low and cutting down on disruptive noises are recommended as well. If you have trouble sleeping in silence or are being affected by ringing in your ears, a white noise machine can make your quest for sleep more attainable.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom
An integral part of sleeping well at night is having the right setup in your bedroom. When you’re creating a sleep-friendly space, the National Sleep Foundation suggests dimming the lights and keeping intrusive noises to a minimum. You should keep the room cool and use soothing scents like lavender to help you relax. It’s also recommended that you have a comfortable mattress that’s complemented by the right pillows and bedding. You can pick up many of the things you need at affordable prices at a retailer like Target. If you decide to shop at Target online, make sure to take advantage of online deals and discounts, such as coupons and promo codes.
Document Your Sleepless Nights
While your sleeplessness can be caused by a number of factors, it’s important to keep notes if your sleep doesn’t improve after changes to your wellness routine. One of the health issues that can disrupt your nights is sleep apnea and you need to recognize the symptoms. If you’re gasping during your sleep, waking up feeling short of breath or waking up with a sore throat, you may need to talk to your doctor. To make sure you’re giving the doctor all the information they need, you should write down any issues that concern you when it comes to how you’re sleeping.
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to many aspects of mental, emotional and physical health. When you’re being deprived of restful sleep, it can create a terrible negative cycle. To keep this from happening, make sure you develop a sleep-friendly routine and consult the professionals when you need them.
Vets Help Center offers informative content to help educate veterans on life after service.
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When someone receives a lung cancer diagnosis, it may cause complications. These can include mental health effects on the patient, their family members, caregivers, and friends. It’s important to recognize these changes and understand how this can affect the patient and the people around them. Knowing the symptoms and warning signs of someone struggling can help you expedite getting the support and treatment they need to combat these effects.
This word has many meanings. Distress encompasses unpleasant emotions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Studies have shown the negative effects of distress in decision making and the person’s ability or willingness to keep up with their health. Patients describe feelings of distress as:
Some distress is to be expected during uncertain and intimidating times. Lung cancer is a stressful disease. If a person begins to feel overwhelmed to the point of concern, they may be having trouble coping. This can cause issues and disruptions in focus, sleep, and eating patterns.
If mental health effects begin interfering with the person’s quality of life, seeking professional help may be a good option. Common mental health conditions in lung cancer patients that evolve from distress consist of anxiety and depression.
Keeping the Heart Healthy is a full time job, you can not pick when you will work on it or you might find that it is too late. We all know the things we should do, exercise, eat right and get plenty of sleep; but we don’t always do this.
This is going to be a work in progress, so if you read it once, you might have missed something that has changed or added, so check back from time to time if you find this of any help.
This is a list; not an exhausted list; but a start: