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6 ways for veterans to get better quality sleep

Difficulty sleeping is a common health issue with Veterans, whether attributed to a condition such as sleep apnea, or mental health condition that Veterans are more susceptible to. Research has made it crystal clear that sleep impacts both our physical and mental health, making it a vital component for one's overall well being.

Experts recommend getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night, but it can be difficult to get that amount when dealing with a service-connected condition. Between knowing which symptoms to lookout for and a few simple habit changes, getting your shuteye time can arrive a bit easier with some subtle switches.

Here are 6 ways that Veterans can get better quality sleep:

Look out for symptoms of common sleep disorders Veterans face

Unfortunately, many Veterans experience disordered sleep patterns as a result of common service-connected conditions. Familiarizing yourself with the most common conditions and their symptoms can help find a treatment sooner – avoiding more time spent struggling to fall asleep.

These are some of the more common conditions faced by Veterans, impacting sleep. Click on the links to read more about what they are and their descriptions:

Limit or eliminate caffeine intake

If you're an avid caffeine drinker but struggle to sleep at night, try to avoid caffeinated drinks in the late afternoon or evening. For those who are even more caffeine sensitive, cutting out these stimulants altogether can be a necessary step in fixing the sleep schedule. One study found that drinking caffeinated products reduced overall sleep time by 45 minutes, also decreasing sleep efficiency by 7%.

We love our coffee too, but try to keep it as a morning habit and not a 4 pm habit if you're experiencing difficulty getting to sleep.

Practice mindfulness throughout the day

Mindfulness has been discussed quite a bit in recent years, and that's because it has proven benefits for our mental and physical health. In short, mindfulness is the practice of staying present in the moment. This could take a few different forms, such as: meditation, breathing exercises, or engaging in all 5 senses. Research has proven that mindfulness, when practiced regularly, can significantly improve sleep quality.

Try a weighted blanket

If you've never heard of a weighted blanket, it is exactly what it sounds like: a blanket that's much heavier than normal. But why? Well, weighted blankets have been proven to help with anxiety, insomnia, and several other conditions. According to Healthline, the increased pressure from the weight of the blanket can soothe one's nervous system, promoting relaxation that facilitates sleep much easier.

Cut out screen time a few hours before sleeping

Research has made it a well-known fact that staring at screens, whether your TV or your phone, before sleep, has a negative impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you have a habit of watching shows or scrolling on your phone in the hours leading up to bedtime, try replacing the habit with something less stimulating – such as reading a book, journaling, or a hot bath.

Learn about your options for getting VA disability benefits

If a service-connected condition is impacting your sleep quality, getting benefits can give you the support you need to heal from your condition and get those zzz's without difficulty.

You might be entitled to VA disability benefits. A successful VA disability benefits claim requires strong and thorough documentation, whether Nexus Letters, DBQs, chart reviews, or other supplemental documentation. At MRPY Professional Services, our experts have years of experience drafting medical documentation that gets results from the VA. If you're ready to get started, sign up for a chart review or view our other services here.

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