By Brad Krause, Self Caring
Active military personnel don’t always have a say in their sleep schedules. And you might have gotten used to early wake-up calls and running on more adrenaline than quality rest. But as a veteran, re-acclimating with civilian life involves a lot of changes—and that includes your wellness routine.
Sleep is an essential part of your health. So, going without can have serious consequences. Here are some cheap ways you can sleep better and focus on overall wellness, too.
Make Your Bedroom More Inviting
Some people can sleep just about anywhere. But studies have shown that an environment that’s dark and quiet is ideal for getting restorative sleep—think cave-like, including the low temperature. Being comfortable is vital, too, especially if you’re dealing with combat injuries.
It’s easy enough to grab comfortable bedding, new pillows, and even some technology gadgets to help you set up your room. Shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond is a smart option. Not only do they have a vast selection of all those goodies, but they also offer free shipping when you spend at least $39. Top that off with Bed Bath & Beyond coupons so you can stay under budget but be able to outfit your room for optimal relaxation.
Don’t Discount the Importance of Your Mattress
You might think that since you’ve spent a lot of time sleeping on the ground or in other uncomfortable spots, a lumpy mattress can’t be all bad. But the truth is that your mattress can impact a lot more than your comfort. Slate explains that bits of skin and dust mites can build up in your bed, which is not only gross but contributes to allergies. Beyond that, a saggy bed doesn’t offer the best support and can make things like back problems worse.
The problem is that buying a new mattress can be expensive. The good news is that there are tons of online-only mattress companies that are helping to disrupt the high-priced mattress market. Plus, those companies deliver your bed to your doorstep, so it’s convenient, too.
There are affordable mattresses that come in under $200, though you’ll want to do some research to see whether any of them will work for your needs. Check out the manufacturers’ sleep trials, too—most companies let you try out the bed risk-free for a long period, anywhere from 30 days to six months or more.
Once you buy a new bed, there are things you can do to preserve your investment, according to The Spruce. In most cases, that means flipping the bed every so often, vacuuming it to remove allergens, and using a protective cover.
Schedule Enough Time to Sleep
Life can get hectic, whether you have a family or a demanding job—or both. But prioritizing your sleep is vital if you want to stay healthy and avoid getting sick.
Sleep deprivation can lead to a lot of nasty side effects, including mood problems, weakened immunity, diabetes and heart disease risk, weight gain, and even low sex drive. Getting more sleep is a lot easier than taking medication for those problems, and safer, too.
Schedule between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, whether you drift off right away or not. Hole up in your newly outfitted bedroom without technology or outside noise (unless you sleep better with white noise). Nixing screens is important too because the blue light can mess with your body’s circadian rhythms. It basically tricks your brain into staying awake even when you’re tired, studies show.
The highlight of getting serious about your sleep schedule is that it’s free to do—it just takes commitment and a bit of planning.
Keep Working Out
Hopefully, you’re already working out and getting outside every day. Fresh air, sunlight, and demanding physical activity is great for your body, even if you don’t suffer from a lack of sleep. For best results later that night, aim for a vigorous workout in the morning. And if you aren’t already exercising, boost your activity with something you enjoy; you no longer have to do o-dark-thirty runs, so pick something that makes you happy.
Wherever you’re at in your post-service journey, sleep should be a priority. Getting better rest can boost your health and even your mood. With these affordable steps, you can start sleeping more soundly and enjoying life more as a result.
Photo via Pixabay
Brad Krause is a contributing writer. You can read more of his work on his Self Caring site.