IN THIS ARTICLE:
- Set a regular sleep routine
- Use your bed for sleep and sex only
- Don’t drink and dream
Your health directly relates to the hours you spend on your pillow. Aim for seven to nine hours a night.
If you want to perform better physically and mentally, or stop feeling so exhausted, try these tips.
DO set a sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day—even during drill weekends (if you can). Hanging out with friends until 2 a.m. and then sleeping in messes with your body’s internal clock. Stay within 30 minutes of your regular bedtime to feel refreshed on Monday morning.
DON’T watch TV, play video games, or work in bed. Use your bed for sleep and sex only. This habit will create a connection in your mind between your bed and sleep.
DO leave your phone outside the bedroom. If your phone is your alarm, turn it facedown so texts or calls don’t wake you up.
DON’T lie awake in bed. Soldiers can get anxious watching the clock. If you can’t fall asleep after 15 or 20 minutes, get out of bed, and try reading or another calming activity. Don’t watch TV—it may keep you up longer.
DO ditch all P.M. stimulants, especially caffeine and nicotine. Instead of reaching for the late afternoon cup of coffee, go for a brisk walk or do some lunges.
DON’T drink and dream. Drinking alcohol before bed can shorten the time spent in deeper stages of sleep that leave you well rested. Try to finish your favorite adult beverage at least four hours before bedtime.
DO exercise for 30 minutes every day. Play hard, sleep hard. Those who work hard physically during the day often snooze better at night.
DON’T exercise or eat right before bed. Leave two hours before bed to digest and relax. Use this time to read or take a warm shower.
DO make your sleep area cool, dark, and comfortable. Sleeping in a room with cooler temperatures promotes quality sleep—aim for 60 to 65F.
Most Soldiers find it tough to follow all of these recommendations. Try a couple out and see what works best for you.
If you consistently struggle to fall asleep or always feel tired, you may have a sleep disorder like insomnia. Talk to your doctor for more information.