This post is sponsored by Blue Star Families. All opinions and work are my own.
I was exhausted.
Days that bled into months of poor sleep, anxious dreams, and bad sleep habits had me on edge and completely played out. I felt like I was in a fog half of the time and prone to heightened emotional moments (hello, lots of tears!).
It wasn’t a fun place to be.
Before deployment began, I had no idea it was going to mess with my sleep schedule and my abilities to function as a (semi, at least) responsible adult. It had never dawned on me to prepare for that possibility with all of the other deployment preparations we made ahead of time.
Maybe that’s you too– first deployment, completely surprised by how hard it can be to get a good night’s sleep. Or maybe you’re an old pro at this who is looking for a few tips. Or maybe you’re somewhere in between– someone who is having a rough patch when you didn’t before. (And if that’s you, you’re not alone. more than one third– according to a Blue Star Families survey– of military families report sleep issues that impede their ability to get quality snooze time.)
It doesn’t really matter how or why you’re not getting a good rest. What matters is getting some decent sleep so you can function like a human and not a zombie.
1. Create a schedule
So often as adults, we’re willing to create schedules for our kids and pets but not ourselves, especially when it comes to deployment. Whether it’s because the bed feels weird when you’re alone in it or because you’re squeezing every moment out of the day by waiting for texts on your phone (or maybe something in between), sticking to an evening routine can be a sticking point for military spouses.
When you’re creating a schedule, take into account:
- Your evening hygiene habits
- Your kids’ (if you have them) evening routines and times
- Your pets’ (if you have them) evening routines and times
- Your needs when it comes to time to wind down and relax
- Phone and TV distractions
- Deployment considerations
- Wake-up time
2. Stick to the schedule
The first step is creating it. (Good for you!) Now, the harder part: sticking to it so you can put that plan in motion and (hopefully) schedule your way to a better, more restful sleep. Set alarms on your phone, chart your progress, or do something else if needed to make sure you’re prioritizing your sleep.
3. Plan talk-time
If missing out on speaking with your spouse or significant other is one of the things keeping you up late, try to plan it. Of course, this won’t work in every situation and might be tough, but
4. Take stock of your sleep aids
There are a lot of wine and deployment jokes about military spouses. But the truth is, drinking wine, beer, or cocktails every night so you can sleep is not a good or healthy practice. Similarly, if you find yourself dependent on sleeping pills or other substances– over the counter or otherwise– you should contact your doctor.
5. Get holistic
Sleep– as you know– is linked to many parts of your life, not just when you close your eyes. Think about the following parts of your life:
- Your nutrition
- Your mental health
- Your physical activity
Is there something that you can change to bring your life into more balance? When it comes to nutrition, think about your sugar and caffeine intake, your vitamins and supplements, and your consumption of fresh food and veggies. When it comes to your mental health, think about your self-care, access to therapists and counselors, and techniques like journaling and meditation apps.
5. Get a new bed
It’s true– a bed can make a big difference in whether or not you’re getting the appropriate amount of quality sleep. If you don’t have it in the budget for this year, Blue Star Families and SleepNumber have a surprise for you. From now until October 31, they’re encouraging military families to enter every day to win a sleep package valued at over $4,600:
- SleepNumber 360® smart bed
- Integrated Base
- Lyocell Ultra Sheet Set
- 2 Standard-size Ultimate ComfortFit™ Pillows
- Total Protection Mattress Pad