The Top 3 Sleep Lessons You Can Learn From Our Armed Services
Memorial Day is a great day. We grill, we camp, we see our friends, and it’s the unofficial start to summer. Here’s the thing, it’s important to remember why we celebrate Memorial Day in the first place: to honor the members of our armed services. These people are our friends, family, and neighbors and they put their lives on the line so that we can enjoy the lifestyle we’ve come to know and love.
This Memorial Day we thought it’d be a good idea to pull some plays from the armed services handbook and see how they can apply to our lives. While we might not get up at dawn for a sixty-mile hike, there’s a lot to learn about having a plan, being disciplined, and working hard. This Memorial Day, let’s give thought to how our armed forces give us more than just protection: they show us how we can be our best selves.
Exercise Regularly for Better Sleep
The military requires its members to be physically fit specimens. Physical training (also known as PT) is one of the largest components to a soldier’s training. It’s about bringing the mind and body into alignment, but it’s also just straight up about fitness. When we exercise more our resting heart rate lowers, our backs feel better, and we sleep better. A recent study showed that subjects who got at least 150 minutes of exercise a week were able to sleep better than those who didn’t.
For perspective, that ’s just a half hour a day for the entire week — totally doable when you break it down into manageable stretches of time. Not only will your physical fitness improve, your sleep time will too.
Utilize a Plan for Your Life and a Plan for Your Sleep
Like the old adage says, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Our military takes great steps to plan out every operation, figuring out every permutation and nuance before it comes to pass. They also organize and structure their day so that members always have an expectation of how a day will pass. This is because routine and structure help.
We can apply this to our own lives by planning out the week on Sunday nights. It’s not to say that you won’t deviate from this plan, but having some structure will help your productivity and give you something to shoot for. Not only that, having a consistent bedtime is a must for good sleep. Your body can train itself to recognize when it’s supposed to go to bed — but only if you’re telling it the same thing every day. Try an experiment where you have the same bedtime every night all week long and see if your sleep doesn’t improve! Practice makes perfect.
Make Your Bed!
This one might sound trivial (or like you’re having flashbacks to your mom nagging you), but it’s something the military takes very seriously. Every morning a bed must pass inspection before the day is allowed to start. That’s because our armed services recognize that clutter equals stress, and stress is the enemy of productivity. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact: clutter makes your brain work harder on things it shouldn’t have to worry about.
Make your bed every day, the five minutes it takes to do it right will pay off in dividends when you relax into it at the end of the night. There’s nothing better than the feeling of crisp white sheets being pulled back. It’s making me want to sleep just thinking about it!
So this Memorial Day let’s remember our armed services, and give tribute to the men and women who protect this country every day. We have a lot to learn from them, and those are skills that we can use year ‘round, whether it’s at our jobs, with our families, or yes, even in bed. Sleep like a soldier and see the difference a little planning makes. You’re gonna be rested and ready to go!
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