I am quite blessed that the only times I have had sleep issues was when my children were babies and when I am really stressed. The ‘middle of the night baby stage’ passed (thank goodness!) and I work hard to keep stress levels down.
I have, however, spoken to a lot of military families who suffer terribly from sleep difficulties and the problem is much worse when their family member is away or deployed. When I am sleep deprived I have no problem admitting that I turn into this other person (a crazy one).
Do not underestimate the importance of sleep and put things in place for you to get as much of it as possible. I am not suggesting you sleep your way through the absence or deployment (not healthy either) but it is important to get good sleep as otherwise you can experience all or some of the following:
- fatigue during the day
- concentration problems
- easily frustrated
- overly sensitive
- feelings of depression or feeling overwhelmed.
All of those feelings and emotions can make the deployment or absence even harder.
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Create a sleep schedule for everyone in your family to ensure they are feeling good and rested too
- Do not use the TV to go to sleep to (if you do, put it on a timer to turn off)
- Darken the room with curtains
- Use your bed only for sleeping (or sex)
- Don’t lie awake for longer than 15 – 20mins (get up and have a bath or read and then try again)
- Decrease your caffeine intake – 250mg or less
- Create a comfortable sleep environment
- Avoid heavy meals close to bed time
- Avoid strenuous exercise before bed time
- Avoid nicotine and/or alcohol before bed time
- Establish a regular bedtime ritual