Bringing Them Back One Song At A Time
Operation Song, the 2018 Hands on Nashville Strobel Award, “Civic Volunteer Group of the Year.”
Operation Song™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Nashville, Tennessee. Our mission is to empower veterans, active duty military, and their families to tell their stories through the process of songwriting.
Operation SongTM songwriting programs create an opportunity to transform service related issues, injuries and illnesses into a structured, musical outlet as an enhancement of traditional therapies and/or treatments.
Since 2012, we have written over 600 songs with veterans of WWII to those currently serving. We hold weekly workshops in Middle Tennessee and sponsor events and group retreats throughout the U.S. Those we serve need no musical background, only the desire to tell their story. http://www.operationsong.org/
Listen to the latest song of the week here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/pWE34n7gBi8
Jeff Nichols is a Navy SEAL veteran and exercise physiologist and I recently consulted with him on the topic of sleep and recovery and how to achieve a “restorative sleep.”
As Jeff puts it, the goal is quality hours of sleep that place the body into a rapid eye movement (REM) pattern as many times as possible. This process introduces the hormone response that enables the body to recover from a stressful day and the physical stress of job and training that many tactical athletes endure.
Though there is a list of sleep assistance items and habits to follow, do not try to do all of them at once. The goal is to see what works for you, so keep it simple. Select one or two at a time and implement them for a week or so. Then try to add another. Eventually, you will find the perfect formula that works for you. This process will also allow you to evaluate the new changes to your life effectively.
Treat sleep as the most important part of your day — really! You will sleep 30 percent of your life. You should be good at it because, if you are not, you could be subtracting years from your life due to your inability to metabolize stress properly. It is helpful to prepare for sleep as if you were preparing for any other part of your day. Consider the following rituals:
Four to Six Hours Prior to Sleep
Lay off caffeine several hours prior to sleep. In fact, you should make this the first step to sleeping better. For some people, having caffeine up to 6 hours before bed can affect sleep by over an hour.
Start cooling the room temperature a few hours prior to sleep. Try a setting between 65-69 degrees Fahrenheit. This will allow your body temperature to drop (approximately 0.7 degree Celsius), which is necessary for essential hormone release — such as testosterone, HGHr, dopamine and serotonin, to name a few. This hormone dump is directly correlated to entering REM and is a clear sign of quality restorative sleep.
Food before bed. The goal is slow-digesting protein (casein) sources low in sugar. Foods like the following are good snacks before bedtime:
Plain whole milk Greek yogurt (vanilla-flavored casein protein powder will add taste to plain yogurt plus extra slow digesting protein)
Nakee butter peanut butter – https://nakeebutter.com. This product has MCT oil in it, which is ideal for brain function and brain health. There’s nothing artificial in this product, and it comes ready to travel in single-serving packets.
Find a snack that works for you and your digestive system. The amino acids in these protein-rich foods are also helpful with metabolizing stress.
Some Extra Items to Consider Getting and Doing
Bedding. Consider new sheets and pillowcases. Polyester, silk, satin, or any other sheer type bedding is not recommended. Bamboo is a good choice. Here is a brand worth checking out: https://www.cariloha.com. Hemp sheets are a good second option, and pure cotton is fine too. Bamboo is actually softer than cotton; because of the weave, it is more breathable and will not trap extra heat under the sheets with you.
Air Filter. Get a high-quality air filter for your bedroom, especially if you have pets. Air quality is essential for quality of sleep even though it’s often overlooked. Most any air filter will do. It does not have to be super expensive, just one that focuses on pets and dust stirred up from normal living. Consider this one.
Blue light-blocking glasses. If you spend time in front of the screen prior to bed or in the evening in general (on your phone, computer or tablet), these glasses are mandatory. Just wear them around your house an hour before bed and do what you normally do. This will begin to down regulate your brain and help you quiet your mind and prepare for sleep.
Supplements. People often take melatonin as a supplement, though it’s best to help your body make it naturally. The most effective and simple way is to place yourself in direct sunlight for 10-15 minutes before 9:30 am. This sets the circadian rhythm essential for natural melatonin release each evening. This is very useful when you travel time zones. It will also align your appetite. The goal is to sleep naturally and not rely on supplements or sleep aids. However, Gaba-250 (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a natural, safe, non-habit forming neurotransmitter. Too much excitation can lead to irritability, restlessness, sleeplessness and spasmodic movements. This excitation needs to be balanced with inhibition. GABA is the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.
Sleepwear. The act of getting into pajamas is a trigger for the brain to start preparing for sleep. Do this an hour prior to sleeping. Bedtime clothing recommendations are the same as for sheets — bamboo, hemp or cotton. A cotton-poly blend isn’t bad either, especially since many of them are very soft and comfortable.
The ChiliPad. Mattress temp is equally important as air temperature in the room. Consider getting a mattress cover that cools. Try the ChiliPad at 69 degrees. Keep in mind that as morning approaches, you may need to turn it up to 71 degrees. This is because, as you go into REM sleep, your body temp will drop and you may get a chill. This is normal.
Binaural Music. Specifically, “delta wave binaural tones” is the soothing music of choice. Simply put, it involves sound tones that places the brain in a state to receive sleep. Your brain will produce an electrical wave in a Delta pattern when in REM sleep.
Showering before bedtime. The combination of heat radiation and the mammalian response, or diving reflex, will help ready you for sleep. Take a warm shower and make sure you stand under the shower head for a minute or two as it pours over your face and head — breathe and relax. Keep the bathroom dim during the shower. Do not brighten the bathroom or bedroom after the shower. Once you have dried off, get into bed and do not cover your feet or hands. The heat leaving your body will simulate a body temperature drop similar to entering REM. As you feel yourself getting sleepy, cover up and get comfortable.
Your bedtime habits can elicit a response that helps you relax, but you have to start associating relaxing events or times in your life with that time right before sleep. For instance, before sleep, smell something that reminds you of something nice, like a baby’s hug or your bedroom as a kid — something relaxing to you. A picture of your child or puppy sleeping will also work. But smell is very powerful to help with this response.
For more information about Jeff Nichols’ programming, check out www.performancefirstus.com.
Original Article: How to Achieve Restorative Sleep
This episode of VA’s The American Veteran features stories about: Charles Norman Shay, a 94-year old Penobscot tribal elder who served in WWII as a combat medic who landed on Omaha Beach in the first wave; a 27-piece salsa band made up entirely of military Veterans – brought together at the VA Caribbean Healthcare System; an Army Veteran applies the unbreakable warrior spirit to wheelchair basketball; a Navy Veteran who, with help from a VA prosthetist, regains something lost; and a look inside how VA’s recovery-oriented approach empowers Veteran’s to take charge of their treatment and live a full and meaningful life. . . . PRODUCTION BY: VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Digital Media Engagement Defense Media Activity Melvin Abreu Tyler Moore Jen Dikes Donna Austin . . DMA STUDIO: T.D. – Will Mosley Audio – Jack Martin Servers – Paul Hernandez Lighting – Grant Stolz Camera – Karen Varga . . SPECIAL THANKS: Defense Media Activity VHA Employee Education System Bobby Bleir Jerry Billings TJ Fryman
by Cindy Kirchhofer – State Representative – Indiana
Happy Small Business Week! This For Veterans—Achieve Your Small Biz Dreams Webinar is just one of many events throughout Indiana in honor of Small Business Week.
SBA Indiana teams up with VetBiz Central to deliver information on a variety of programs, opportunities, and benefits for aspiring or established Vetrepreneurs.
- SBA resources throughout the state
- Financing options
- SBA contracting programs
- VetBiz Central’s unique services and programs for Veterans
- VOSB/SDVOSB Verification
- Supplier Diversity Program
WHEN: May 1, 11 am
Registration is required. Click or type www.vetbizcentral.org in your browser and sign up today!
This workshop brought to you through a partnership between Veterans Business Outreach Center VetBiz Central and the SBA. Questions? Email Public Affairs Specialist Laura Schafsnitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
SBA Indiana District Office
8500 Keystone Crossing, Suite 400
Indianapolis, IN 46240
Stop by the Colts Twitter page @Colts and retweet the #SaluteToService and help raise money for non-profits.