Sleep Tips for Former Service Members

Information acquired from from Brad Krause from


The occurrence of sleep issues for veterans is on the rise. Anything from mental and physical health issues to the adjustment back into civilian life can be the culprit. But no matter what the source, if you’re a veteran who is having a hard time getting the sleep your body and mind need, it’s critical to do what you can to fix it. Living sleep deprived is not only unhealthy and dangerous, but it can also harm your relationships and work performance.

Veteran & First Responder Friendly Businesses of Maryland wants you to thrive, so read on for important sleep tips.

Check your mattress

If you have a bad mattress, Huffington Post notes it could be significantly affecting your sleep quality. Here are a few indicators that your mattress needs replaced:

  • It’s more than seven years old.
  • There are lumps throughout the mattress or it sags
  • You wake up with neck and back pain.

If you decide it’s time to get a new mattress, the choices can be dizzying, so narrow the field by settling on a type first, such as the well-liked memory foam. This type of mattress has gained in popularity over the years due to its ability to contour your body’s shape while providing necessary pressure point relief. As far as construction, heavier mattresses tend to be more durable and supportive, and what the layers are made from and how they are positioned will directly affect your comfort level. Explore major brands to find a mattress solution that meshes with your needs.

Practice self-care

Taking care of yourself is essential when it comes to improving your sleep. Make sure you’re following a healthy diet. Moderate your intake of processed foods and sugary foods and drinks, and eat clean when possible. Fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, fish, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds are great foods to build your diet around.

Also, try to exercise at least five days a week. Now that you’re no longer subject to PT tests, it’s time to find a routine you enjoy. Think about what you will look forward to and make part of your new regimen—whether it’s brisk walking, running, swimming, yoga, cycling, HIIT, or any other number of activities that help you break a sweat.

Part of your self-care plan should include addressing your household in terms of positivity. Things that bring you down, like negative attitudes, cluttered rooms, and stale air, can have a strongly negative effect on your mindset and how well you sleep. Do some sprucing up to bring positive energy into your home.

Be consistent

As a veteran, a routine is nothing new to you. Use the discipline you acquired in the military in your quest for better sleep. Choose a bedtime and wake time, and stick with those times each day. Canadian Running explains this will help to regulate your circadian rhythm, which has a profound impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Track your progress

Another thing that can help you improve your sleep is to keep a progress journal. In this journal, you can log information about your sleep habits each day, such as when you went to bed the night before, how many times you woke up through the night, and how many hours you slept. Tracking your progress will help you see where you can make improvements.

Get professional help

Nothing is a substitute for professional expertise. If none of these tips helps you get the rest you need, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. You might need a CPAP or dental appliance to help you manage sleep apnea, or perhaps you need to talk through some stress-related concerns with a counselor.

A professional can help you identify the root of your sleep disorder, provide expert advice on what actions to take, recommend medications, and refer you to a qualified sleep specialist, among other things. Also, there are sleep specialists who specialize in working with veterans, which could prove invaluable in your situation.

Even though sleep deprivation is common among veterans, that doesn’t mean it’s normal or okay. You need to address the issue before it impacts your life more than it already has. Make some lifestyle improvements and tap into professional resources. When you start getting great sleep, you will feel better, mentally and physically.