The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.
I debated pretty heavily about posting my scheduled posts yesterday and today. Given recent events, I felt like I should stop posting or share something related to how I feel about the election. But Countdowns and Cupcakes has always been free of politics. In fact, I said it was something I would never post about. So I’m not changing that today. Instead, I will focus on the tiny way I can help someone today.
And who couldn’t use a hand getting a good night’s sleep, especially during deployment? I will be completely honest with y’all, during our first deployment, I barely slept. Being alone coupled with worrying about A kept me up until the wee hours of the morning for a full five months and it was not good. The next time A left, I tried very hard to set good sleep habits and was much more successful at falling asleep at night.
And now I’m sharing those tips with you!
Tips for getting your best sleep
Exercise during the day
During A’s second deployment, I was training for a half-marathon and running at least 4 miles multiple days a week. That kind of physical exertion will catch up to you eventually. My catch up point was usually right around 9 pm every night. I was so exhausted by the time bedtime rolled around that I fell asleep quickly and easily.
Now, you don’t necessarily need to run miles and miles every day, but working out for even 30-45 minutes a day can really help! You’ll be surprised how tired you are at the end of the day and how easily you fall asleep.
Stick to a standard bedtime and wake up time
This one is so key! During deployment #1, I would stay up too late and then hit snooze roughly 45 times every morning. During deployment #2, I had firm bed and wake up times. Once I got used to the schedule, it was easier to get up each morning because I had gone to bed early enough.
Consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed at the same time every night. And yes, this applies to the weekends! Luckily you’ll be tired enough that being in bed at 10 pm on a Saturday won’t be too much of a sacrifice.
Do yoga before bed
Doing a short yoga routine before bed can really calm your mind and relax your body. A calm mind and relaxed body make for an easier time falling asleep. This beginner’s routine is a great place to start and it only takes 20 minutes!
Skip the nap
You want to know the #1 way to completely derail any chance you have of falling asleep at a normal time at night? Napping on the sofa for two hours after you get home from work. I learned that lesson the hard way…almost every single day.
When I stopped napping, I had a much easier time falling asleep at night. A short nap is ok, especially if you stayed up too late the night before, but don’t let it get out of hand!
Turn off the TV
The TV can be super distracting when you’re trying to sleep. You get caught up in a show on Netflix and next thing you know it’s 2 am and you’ve finished three seasons. And this could happen with anything: your phone, a book, an audio book or podcast all hold the potential to distract you from sleeping. Try to remove any and all distractions and treat your bed as only a place to sleep.
And there you go…26-ish weeks later and at the final installment of the Deployment ABCs! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about all the topics related to deployment as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about them!