For veterans, sleep can be the best tool to restore your body and make sure that it is functioning at peak performance. Alongside healthy nutrition, the body’s key tool for warding off illness, maintaining energy, and maintaining elite performance, is sleep. The average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep a night. This is crucial for top functionality to tackle the day. With factors such as stress, trauma, short sleeping patterns, and physical discomfort being some reasons veterans have a hard time sleeping or staying asleep, it is important to reflect on ways to make sleep work. Below is a comprehensive list of different strategies to help gain the crucial zzzs needed for you to be at your best.
Your body responds to light in its natural circadian rhythm. Light cues your body and tells you when it is time to sleep and wake up. When your body is affected by light at night, this can delay the production of melatonin, a crucial hormone to your body’s sleeping habits. When factoring in light, consider light canceling curtains if somewhere there are lots of street lights or other forms of illumination. While getting ready for bed, try using soft lighting to cue to your body that it is time to rest.
White noise is measured by the frequency of sound waves and their relationship to their amplitude. White noise is defined by playing every frequency that can be detected by the human ear. Although sometimes mistaken for fans or air conditioning units, these are not quite the same (however may produce similar effects). White noise has been associated with slowing brain activity, which can help alleviate any stressful thoughts from the day. It can also allow for a calming effect, and reduce the chance of distribution by other sounds in the night. White noise machines may be purchased, but can also be downloaded for free as apps on smartphones for a more cost-effective sleep promoter.
According to the MayoClinic, smartphones and other electronic devices before bed are a main cause of insomnia. The bright lights and noises trigger the brain, which can delay melatonin production. Content on electronics tends to stimulate your brain, making it harder to fall asleep. For increased sleep duration, try putting the electronics away an hour before bed. Try swapping it out for another activity such as journaling or reading, which can decrease stress and help shape restful patterns of rest.
Along with fueling your body’s performance during the day, your diet is a crucial component for rest. Diet and sleep is a multi-faceted relationship, and good nutritional habits over time are crucial for a good night’s rest. When thinking about diet habits that could potentially disrupt rest, avoid eating big meals right before bed. Feeding your body a lot of food before bedtime can lead to indigestion and heartburn. Limiting stimulants such as caffeine in the afternoon or nighttime is also important for preparing your body for rest.
Although alcohol consumption spikes drowsiness, it actually inhibits healthy sleep patterns. Alcohol is a suppressant, which slows your body’s nervous system down. As the liver processes the toxins, this can lead to sleep disruption or poor quality of sleep. Those who use alcohol in great amounts have been shown to suffer from conditions such as insomnia or sleep apnea. When thinking about how to increase sleep duration, cutting out alcohol can be a good way to establish full REM sleep.
Stress, and thinking about what the next day holds, is one of the key inhibitors of sleep. Although easier said than done, for healthy sleep patterns it is worth finding a stress-reducing strategy that works for you before bedtime.
Turning off the electronics, writing down everything you are thinking about in a notebook and shutting it for the night, or reading a favorite book can all be great ways for managing insomnia. Physically reducing stress, through exercises such as meditation or yoga, can force your body to calm down, and regulate your nervous system before bedtime. For veterans, finding an active approach to sleep that works in managing stress can be crucial for a healthy night’s rest.
Performing at your best sometimes requires a little extra help. Sleep is no different. For those who have trouble falling asleep or do not have the most restful sleep, natural supplements can be an excellent way to support healthy sleep patterns. VRB’s Sleep Blend is a mix of all-natural ingredients such as Valerian, Melatonin, and Proprietary CBD/Terpene Blend which are known to produce a calming effect and get your mind and body ready for bed.
For best results for a good night’s rest, establishing healthy sleep patterns, and investing in products that can help you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep, are ways to make sure your sleep is your best sleep. For veterans who perform at an elite level, making sure your body gets the proper rest it needs is just as important as the training during the day. VRB Labs is committed to helping you ensure your best sleep through a blend of finely crafted natural ingredients, to make sure a great night’s rest is yet another one of your achievements.