Sleeping tips offered to gain some nighttime ZZZs

| March 11, 2016 | 0 Comments
Army sleep specialists discourage looking at the clock while sleeping. By removing distractions, people can turn their bed back into a place to sleep.  (Photo courtesy of 8th Army)

Army sleep specialists discourage looking at the clock while sleeping. By removing distractions, people can turn their bed back into a place to sleep. (Photo courtesy of 8th Army)

Meredith M. Dodd
Army News Service
Sleep Awareness Week in March is a time to tackle the epidemic no one talks about: lack of sleep!

Researchers noticed that military members undergoing basic training or enrolled in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who slept approximately five hours per night encountered sleeping problems – a trend on the rise since 2000.

Importance of sleep
Lack of sleep can interfere with concentration, alertness and decision-making; increase negative emotional symptoms associated with depression, panic and trauma; and increase the likelihood of obesity.

The Performance Triad, which is sleep, activity and nutrition, recommends that you snooze for at least eight hours per 24-hour period.

Help yourself to some sleep
Not getting enough sleep? Not sleeping well? Do not fret. There are many things you can change to naturally increase the amount and quality of your sleep.

Environment. Making changes to your environment is first. It is best to sleep in a quiet, cool, dark place, if possible. Excess noise and light can re-energize your body, which makes it more difficult to sleep.

Having a colder temperature helps put your body into a “hibernation” mode that encourages deep sleep. Using a fan, a white noise machine, earplugs, blackout curtains or a sleep mask can help achieve optimum sleeping conditions.

Evening intake. Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and big meals one to three hours before bed can make your sleep more restful.

Daylight helps. Getting enough natural light during the day and avoiding naps can help strengthen your sleep-wake cycle so you are tired at night.

Bedroom habits. Using the bed/bedroom for only sleep-related activities can help your body associate those areas with sleep. If you are constantly working on your laptop in bed, for instance, and dealing with work stressors, your body will remember the stress and associate it with that location, making it more difficult to sleep well.

Similarly, maintaining a bedtime routine that works for you will help your body gradually prepare for sleep, since it can start to predict that a good night’s rest is coming up.

If insomnia creeps up on you, do not force yourself to lay in bed worrying about when you will actually go to sleep. Just get up, do something else and try again when you start to feel sleepy.

Army resources
There are many Army resources that you and your family can use to help catch up on some well-earned ZZZs. The Performance Triad, rolling out enterprise-wide, has excellent resources to help with sleep, including a free app for smartphones. Just search “Performance Triad.”

Army Wellness Centers, located at 27 different installations worldwide, are specially trained to help with sleep assessment, education and coaching.

If you suspect you might have a sleep disorder or have many sleepless nights, seek assistance from your primary care manager. It is much easier to stop problems in their infancy than to treat them once they have magnified.

Make sleep your priority this month. Using these sleep tips can lead to a healthier, happier, more alert you.

Army Wellness Centers
The U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks has opened an Army Wellness Center at Bldg. 647, 156 Lewis St., next to the Sgt. Smith Theater.
Hours of operation are Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Staff training is 1-3 p.m., Thursdays. For more details, call 655-1866.
Also, check out the Army Public Health Center’s (Provisional) Health Promotion and Wellness portal at http://phc.amedd.army.mil/organi zation/hq/dhpw/Pages.

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Category: Community, Health

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