Use These Techniques From Our Men and Women In Uniform to Get A Great Night’s Sleep
With Memorial Day around the corner, our thoughts are on all things armed forces, and we started wondering about the military and sleep.
There’s no doubt our men and women in uniform are trained to live their lives differently than civilians - there’s no comfy mattresses or sleeping in until nine for them. But it did occur to us that we might just be able to learn a thing or two about getting to sleep, and staying asleep, from our soldiers. After all, if they can manage to get a solid eight, or even six, on those skinny little cots, we should certainly be able to achieve some shut-eye in our cushy beds.
So what do soldiers do differently to get to sleep and can it work for us?
They certainly do exercise in the military. A lot. It’s possible the worst insomnia sufferer will be able to find the underside of their eyelids after spending a day that starts at 5 a.m., includes a 15 - 30-mile hike. How physically active are you? Incorporating exercise into your schedule and expending some energy will tire your body and might help you fall asleep faster in the evening. Just don’t exercise too late in the evening - it’s too stimulating right before bed and could be counteractive.
Stick to a schedule.
A military schedule typically involves waking around 5 a.m. and going to bed at a set time each night. The truth is, our bodies function best on a regular schedule and our circadian rhythm is in a set pattern. While scientists are still actively studying the role sleep, melatonin production, and our circadian rhythms play in our overall health, evidence suggests our bodies learn when they’re supposed to be awake and asleep and act accordingly.
Body Armor and the Swaddling Effect
Many military personnel insist that the weight of body armor has a calming effect and the ability to put them to sleep quickly. It’s much the same as swaddling a baby, or putting a Thundershirt on a dog. Obviously we’re not suggesting you go out and buy body armor - that would be weird to sleep in on a regular basis. But it’s worth considering the purchase of a weighted blanket as a sleep aid.
Unwind Your Mind
Military personnel are taught breathing techniques for calming themselves. It goes something like this: breathe in through your nose to the count of four. Hold your breath to the count of four. Breathe out through your mouth to the count of four. Hold your breath to the count of four. Repeat until you feel your body and mind relax. Try this combat breathing technique - it might help you relax enough to get to sleep faster.
If all else fails, look to your mattress. Has it started to feel like a standard government-issued cot? If so, it might be hindering your sleep and it might be time for something new. Zonkd offers free shipping and a 110-night risk-free trial on our 3-layer foam systems designed for cool, comfortable sleep.