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Question: How do I deal with no sleep and this deployment?

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Question: How do I deal with no sleep and this deployment?

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Question: How do I deal with no sleep and this deployment?

I can relate to this question that recently arrived in my inbox.

How in the world do I get some sleep? My husband has been deployed for only four months and I don't know how many more months of "no sleep" I can take! I think all night and worry all night and I just can't get any rest. How do I get to sleep and stay asleep? My job and my life is starting to suffer. Please help me.

Boy, can I relate. I am the world's worst worry wart. I admit that I've even woken up at night in a panic before in the happens to just about all of us. But one thing we can do is prepare ourselves mentally for our brain wanting to continue to spin at high speed. Research shows that we DO need sleep to function properly and to be in our right mind. Here's how to get a good night's rest and to keep those worries from eating at your health and well being.

My mind always works full speed...right after I turn out the light. It's as if another switch has been turned on inside my head. It's always been that way for me...don't know why and don't care...I just care that I can set things aside and get some sleep after I followed the advice below.

I always keep a paperpad right by my bed. If I have some Einstein-like idea or think of something to add to my never ending "to do" list, I write it down and then push it out of my mind. If my husband is deployed or is in some potentially dangerous training, I write down my concerns and fears on a piece of paper. Then I tell myself, I am going to take these issues and put them in the drawer by my bed and so they're nott in my head any more. They are still secure and not forgotten at this point.They are obviously valid concerns but don't belong in my head while I'm sleeping.
An important point for my brain to process... is to look at it as some kind of free ticket to putting things aside. ...that's have to let your mind know this or it won't work. This should give your brain some peace of mind and allow it to rest. If you must, tell yourself you will get out that paper the next morning and revisit your fears, but for right now, you are taking a rest from them.

This may sound trite, but I know believing in God and having a talk with a local pastor can help when things get severe and out-of-control. Once I realized that some things were out of my hands and that I have to have some kind of faith, it was as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My grandmom used to say that God is so wise and doesn't make mistakes and that we should enjoy every day we have on this Earth and that when our time comes, he will come for us and take us, only to reunite us at a later time with our loved ones....our time on Earth is only a fleeting event in our journey, and that we won't know how we and our lives fit in, in the great scheme of things until after we are gone. This gives me great comfort...I will never forget an interview with one of the dads who lost his child in the 9/11 plane crash into the Pentagon. This child was going on an exciting field trip with some other students and their teacher. This father said that his child is now safe and with God. His child was just on loan to him, as are all things on this earth, and that he was looking forward to the day when he will see him again. He was so thankful that God allowed them the time they had together, and even though he was incredibly sad, he knew that this somehow fit into God's greater plan. It was heartbreaking to hear at the time, but I've found now....I do not fear death and the unknown like I used to, largely because of listening to this man. It has helped me, knowing that God will take care of my husband should something dreadful happen "over there". I've come to find out I can deal better now with the stress and anxiety of the whole thing...which in turn leads me to better sleep.

On the flipside...without you realizing it...your brain is also running through "what if" and "how am I going to run this house and raise these kids on my own"? Before your husband leaves the next time, you need to learn how to become the head of our household. Get familiar with your finances, how to pay your bills and how to access all your accounts. Do have all your legal and financial paperwork in order. Talk to your husband and get a plan (a will or living trust) should the unthinkable happen. Have plenty of life insurance so you won't have to make any financial decisions when you least expect it. Also talk about your kids and what his expectations are of them. Try to get on the same sheet of music on their upbringing. I found that when I took over the finances and started running the household, I became a more confident and mature person...more settled. It also had the added benefit of my husband not worrying about us back here, knowing that I "had it in the bag". Worrying about us at the wrong moment could have dire consequences for him. He needs to be able to focus completely on his job to keep him and his soldiers safe.

I hope this will help you. How do you deal with your sleepless nights and worries?

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Blogger Linda said...

Like you, I have a strong faith in God, and there are nights that I pray and BEG for sleep...but then He says, "get up, and read My word" And usually, getting into that bible helps alleviate the worry...because I always seem to open it to a passage that is relevant!

But...when I've had night after night of sleeplessness (I am restless to begin with, and add any time when my hubby's gone, I can't ever sleep - and I still have a child at home, so there's no such thing as a nap in the daytime), I take 2 benadryl. It's the same thing found in most OTC sleep aids...and also found in the "p.m." meds, but without the unnecessary pain killer.

I am quite careful in how I use's not regular, and it's not often. But when I feel that I'm on the brink...when I'm angry at the world all day long, crabby, grouchy and HURTING (because lack of sleep can become physically painful, too), then I guarantee myself one good night of sleep.

April 28, 2008 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

Being a military spouse, I too deal with lack of sleep and the "what if" syndrome. But being an organizer I always deal with planning. I have found that if I take the "what if" to the very end of the scenario I can get more sleep because I have a plan.
For example:
What if my husband gets seriously injured? Plan A: Make sure we have adequate health/medical insurance coverage. If yes, then I can sleep. If no, then I GET adequate coverage then I can sleep.
What if he has PTSD and can't return to work? Do I know the signs and symptoms of PTSD? Do I know where to go for help, what resources are available? If yes, then I can sleep. If no then I FIND information and resources, then I can sleep.

Remember, a failure to plan is a plan for failure.

April 28, 2008 at 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

I am sure that there will be those that disagree with this solution but this is what worked for me. When my husband would deploy (and we've had many), I got Ambien from our doc. I have never had a problem with addiction. I only take it now on very, very rare occasions.

I completely agree with VMW and what she said about God. For me, I had to really decide if I believed what is written in Psalm 139:16. I decided that I did and if my husband was killed while on deployment, then that was the time that God had for him. It's amazing what that decision did for my inner peace.

April 28, 2008 at 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to give a plug for Give An Hour-it's a group of counseling providers (therapists, LPCs, psychologists, etc) who have agreed to donate an hour a week of counseling to those affected by the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Not just DoD ID card holders-your grandma could be upset about her grandson who is deployed and go and get counseling, for free, from Give An Hour.

My family has benefitted and I hope you do too. Go to to find providers local to you.

Military One Source also has a free counseling option I am told, but I've no experience with it.


April 28, 2008 at 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out “Dot-Mil-Docs” on BlogTalkRadio. The first show is about TRICARE benefits and some of the future shows will be about Traumatic Brain Injury, suicide, and coping with the stress of deployment. There will be a segment to call and ask questions too.

April 30, 2008 at 4:52 PM  

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