What to Do (and NOT do) to Help You Sleep Like a Baby

Some of us sleep like babies, but unfortunately, many of us don’t. Approximately 20 to 40 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia, a sleep disorder resulting in wakefulness or restlessness and an overall inability to sleep. Some people can fall asleep fine, but suffer from an inability to stay asleep, which is referred to as sleep-maintenance insomnia.

Dealing with insomnia of any kind is frustrating and the reality is that there is no cure besides medication. What you can do is improve your “sleep hygiene” to get your body and mind in shape for a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips to make that happen.

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. The routine will reinforce the natural sleep-wake cycle of your body.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise during the day (but not in the few hours before bedtime). The physical activity will help tire your body out so you can sleep better.
  • Develop a bedtime routine that involves winding down as you get in bed. For example, take a warm shower, brush your teeth, do some easy stretching or practice yoga before turning off the light.
  • Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable. This involves being in a cool, dark, and quiet room with a comfortable mattress.
  • When you find yourself tossing and turning in the middle of the night, try to meditate. Practice progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing to force yourself into a more relaxed state. If that doesn’t work, try listening to soft music or reading for 20-30 minutes before you try to go back to sleep.
  • Avoid eating large meals before bed.
  • Avoid stimulants (caffeine, nicotine) in the afternoon.
  • Avoid alcohol in the few hours before you go to bed. Alcohol may initially seem as though it makes you sleepy, but it may cause you to wake up later as your body metabolizes the alcohol.
  • Avoid using technology right before you go to bed (i.e., watching television, working on your computer or other electronic devices).
  • Avoid naps or limit them to no more than 30 min.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. To wake up well rested and refreshed, set yourself up for success by using our tips above to improve the quality of your sleep.

The Importance of Full Spectrum Support for Veterans in the Workplace

The American Council on Education estimates 1.5 million U.S. veterans will be transitioning to the civilian workforce over the next three-to-five years – a 30 percent increase over historical norms. As increasing numbers of veterans enter the workforce, it’s important for companies to recognize that veterans offer unique and versatile skill sets as potential employees. It’s even more important for companies to provide full spectrum support for the transitioning veterans.

“Full spectrum support” goes beyond hiring a veteran, and includes training organizational leaders and managers in veteran-specific issues, such as financial guidance, educational assistance, stress management tips, and emotional and family support. Through Three Wire’s VetAdvisor Program – a peer-to-peer coaching program tailored to support veterans through all phases of transition from military to civilian life – we work tirelessly to ensure businesses and veterans have the custom tailored support necessary to succeed in both their personal and professional lives.

Bunker Labs CEO and U.S. Navy veteran Todd Connor points out that “…while plenty of Americans and industries strive to support [our vets], they often don’t know how to interact with them.” Veterans live and work in a military culture that is often foreign to the civilian population. Day-to-day business environments and operations are usually very different.

Bunker Labs’ research also found that 25% of veterans want to start businesses in their local communities. Civilian mentors and professional networks each serve to support “vetrepreneurs” while navigating a successful entrée into their chosen industry. Fortunately, there are many resources available to the vetrepreneurs including programs supported by the SBA (Veteran Business Outreach Centers, Boots to Business, Contracting Support for Small Business), the Department of Veteran Affairs (Vet Biz, Veteran Entrepreneur Portal) and the National Veteran Small Business Coalition.

Government initiatives such as the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, the Veterans Employment Center at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and organizations such as the Veteran Success Resource Group support veteran employment and those who employ former military members. As the preceding initiatives and programs continue to grow and operate, and as more companies harness the power of the veteran experience, veterans will prosper in the civilian and commercial workspaces.

At VetAdvisor, we are the “First in Veteran Centric Care” and offer a mission-centric focus that cultivates and celebrates the years of military skills and service that veterans bring to bear. Some of these skills include a strong work ethic, attention to detail, managerial and organizational skills, sense of teamwork, and a calling to serve a purpose greater than self.

Improving the veteran’s experience in the workplace – providing each a full spectrum of support – includes being aware of what the veterans’ needs are and implementing the appropriate support mechanisms to address those needs. At VetAdvisor, we endeavor to partner with organizations seeking to recruit, retain, and actively engage with veteran employees as part of our Human Capital Management service offering.

 

 

Fuel Happiness with Random Acts of Kindness

We all want to be happy. According to the wise ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Sometimes the smallest things can brighten your day: the sales clerk that gives you a warm smile and asks how your day is going; the kind driver who lets you into a long line of cars; or the fresh bouquet of flowers you find on your front doorstep, just because.

Being the recipient of kindness is wonderful, but what’s even more satisfying is being responsible for it. Aristotle had a word for this too. When he described the four levels of happiness that humans seek to achieve, the first two, Laetus and Felix, are self-centered; the third level, Beatitudo, is the happiness one feels from doing good for others and making the world a better place.

We recently experienced this third level of happiness at Three Wire when we celebrated our own “Random Acts of Kindness Week” in each of our offices. Each day, for five days, we challenged employees to carry out five “nice” things that would benefit someone else.

If you want to try it, and spread happiness, look at our list of “random act” recommendations below. For about fifteen minutes out of your day, you can make an incredible impact on someone else in this world and hope that they too decide to pay it forward.

Day One: Leave a nice note for a friend, loved one, co-worker, or even a stranger.

Day Two: Write a letter of encouragement to a stranger who needs it.

Day Three: Register to become a bone marrow donor at https://www.giftoflife.org/page/content/steps-to-donation. If you are already registered, or can’t/don’t want to become a donor, donate to this or another cause that you feel connected to.

Day Four: Go to Free Rice and spend 10 minutes answering questions. This is a United Nations Food Program that will donate rice to hungry people for every question you get right.

Day Five: Purchase a five dollar gift card to a store or restaurant and give it to someone who could use a bit of a perk.

Fitness and Stress Management

Stress and physical activity are things that we deal with daily, but you may be surprised at how related they are. Even a small amount of physical fitness can boost your “feel good” endorphins and act as a distraction from day-to-day worries and stressors. If you find yourself stressed on a regular basis, exercise could be a healthy form of stress management.

Exercise and physical activity increases neurotransmitters called endorphins. If you have ever heard anyone talk about a “runner’s high,” they are actually referring to the increase in endorphins they experience from the act of physical activity. Endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body similar to morphine without the negative effects of drug use/abuse. Endorphins are also known to act as analgesic, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as a sedative and can increase healthy sleep patterns, which are directly related to stress, anxiety, and depression.

While involved in a high paced activity, you will often find yourself concentrating on your bodily movements, rather than concentrating on the day-to-day irritations and stressors. As a result, many find themselves able to focus on tasks better, tackle projects with increased energy and enthusiasm, and have a more optimistic attitude in general.

Even if exercise has not been a word in your vocabulary for quite some time, building up levels of physical activity can have immediate positive effects on your overall wellbeing. If it has been awhile, start slow and increase as you go along. It helps to choose activities that you already find enjoyable.

Also, pencil in some physical activity on your weekly agenda; this will help you stick with goals you set for yourself. Exercise is worth the time slot in your schedule as regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels, boost self-esteem, ward off anxiety and depression, and improve sleep.

Retirement Savings: Focus on Starting Today

If you’re just beginning to put money away for retirement, start saving and investing as much as you can now and let compound interest have an opportunity to work in your favor. The more you can invest when you’re young, the better off you’ll be. If a 25 year old starts investing $75 per month, they will have more money by age 65 than someone that starts at 35 years old investing $100 per month due to interest.

  • Rather than thinking, “I will start my retirement for a New Year’s resolution,” START NOW!
  • Make sure to at least match your employers’ 401k contribution percentage.
  • Check with your HR department to see if you employer offers Roth and Traditional 401k plans and see which better suits your retirement plans by asking more questions.

Another way to start saving for retirement is to rein in your spending. Examine your budget and see where you are spending too much money and what you could start saving for the future. This will also help you to set up a realistic spending plan for when you are retired.