It was 3 AM and LTJG Husband was at sea again. What was that noise? Was someone in the house? I lay awake for a few anxious minutes before deciding I hadn’t heard anything. My eyes drifted shut, only to bounce back open when another unfamiliar noise drifted in the window. It’s just someone walking by. Everything is okay.
Welcome to just another night as a military wife.
As military wives, we expect our husbands to spend an enormous amount of time away from home and we deal by keeping our schedules full, our days busy, and our minds focused on accessible, accomplishable things. It’s often not until we’re in the quiet of our beds that the heaviness of deployments, duty nights, or other seperations settles down into the empty spot next to us, threatening to keep us up at all hours of the night.
Thankfully, over the years I’ve discovered a few key tricks that help me stay asleep even when my military man is leagues away. The next time you find yourself tossing and turning, here are three tips for falling (and staying) asleep alone.
1. Screens are not your friend.
When your man is away, it’s all too easy to waste away the night trying to distract yourself connecting over Facebook, finding endless inspiration on Pinterest, or binge watching reruns of Friends on Netflix. While they may fill the time you usually would have spent with your man, screens are no friend to you when it comes to sleep.
Studies have found that all that artificial light we’re dousing ourselves with just before bedtime is detrimental to our natural melatonin production and can be a huge contributor to restless sleep or insomnia, and the National Sleep Foundation recommends tucking away virtual devices a full two hours before hitting the pillow if you want optimal sleep.
So instead of spending quality time on the couch with your screens, try curling up with a good book or magazine, plan out your next day, listen to music, journal, or do some gentle stretches to wind down for the night.
2. Save the news for the morning.
I know military wives that avoid the news altogether when their husbands are deployed, which I completely get. However, for those of us who feel compelled to stay informed, save the news for the morning.
Most of the news focuses on the worst that is out there for dramatic effect, and filling your mind with that sensationalism just before bed will only exacerbate any existing concerns you have for your husband’s safety where he is and, in the cases of violent crime, your safety where you are.
Save the news for the morning when you have your whole day ahead of you to work through any stress it may bring along with it.
3. Use White Noise
Falling asleep and staying that way is a whole lot easier with the right level of white noise. We currently have no less than three sound machines in our tiny little home: one for my toddler, one for baby, and one for me. The soft white noise helps to block out all the noise that would normally jolt us awake and disrupt our natural sleep patterns.
The best sound machine I’ve come across so far is the Sound+Sleep MINI sleep therapy machine. Because it has twelve different “sound story” settings and adaptable volume, it is completely customizable to my/my family’s preferences. I like the traditional soft white noise setting best, while my husband enjoys the rain setting most. There is even a new baby setting that mimics the sounds baby hears in the womb, although our baby prefers the soft roar of the ocean setting best. The machine itself is compact and light enough to take with you anywhere, unlike the machines we’ve used in the past.
So the next time your man is away and you’re having trouble falling asleep, try saying goodnight to your phone a little earlier, saving the drama of the news for the morning, and investing in a high-quality sound machine to soothe out the soundscape in your bedroom. Sweet dreams, friend!
What’s your best trick for falling and staying asleep?
Sound+Sleep MINI gifted in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.