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Tips for Military Wives Who Struggle with Sleep

When you’re a military wife, you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. And when your husband is deployed in a different time zone, it’s exceedingly difficult to keep up with him, the kids, and yourself. Sleep is often the first area we neglect to do it all. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, military wives suffer from extreme short duration of sleep, or less than five hours per night.

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical for everyone, but for many, it can be frustratingly elusive, but here are some steps one can take to make better sleep a priority.

Start positive habits and let go of harmful ones

 The first step to better sleep is to implement self-care strategies and to look to positive habits. For example, avoiding substances like nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol can make a difference in sleep, as well as avoiding large meals too close to bedtime. If one can’t wean themselves of alcohol or nicotine, it can really help to implement a moderate exercise routine during the day. Exercise makes us more tired at night and helps to curb the desire to smoke or drink.

Yoga or gentle stretching before bed can help loosen the muscles and set the stage for relaxation. Try to reserve the time before bed for stretching instead of watching TV or looking at the phone can help the brain unwind.


Assess Your Routine and Bedroom

 Creating a bedtime routine is a great way to give the body a hint that it’s time to start winding down and relax. Consistently waking up and going to bed at the same time every day is also beneficial. Keeping the room cool and dark will naturally help the body get into a sleep rhythm as well, though individual needs may vary. Room-darkening shades can also set the stage for a good night’s sleep, and white noise machines or a sleep meditation app can help get you into REM sleep. Consider improving the sound with a soundbar or speaker. Think of what makes you comfortable and consider how you could work them into your regular routine.

 Cut back on the naps

 If you aren’t getting sleep, it’s really tempting to take naps during the day- which then make it harder to fall asleep at night. We can power through all kinds of things as military wives, but when it comes to taking a nap it’s easy to give in. You don’t want to drink coffee later in the day and you don’t want to take a nap. So, what can you do? Take a walk, eat a piece of fruit, or try meditation. It may be harder to meditate when you’re sleepy, at first, but according to Headspace, meditation actually activates the mind and will generally make you more alert.

 Be Prepared to Address a sleep disorder

 If sleeplessness lasts, you may have anxiety over the absence of your spouse, or you may have a sleep disorder. It could be stress, yes, but DexaFit notes it could also be hormones or something more dangerous, such as sleep apnea. If, despite your best self-help efforts, you are still unable to wind down, don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor. Many understand fully the difficulties of being a military wife and know that compounding this with the devastating effects of sleep deprivation can be emotionally depleting. They may suggest anything from a sleep study to therapy.

 Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep, especially the wives of our service members who are fighting a battle at home and have sacrificed more than most people know. By taking care of yourself, changing up your bedroom and building a bedtime routine, you can take matters into your own hands and start getting the rest you deserve.

 The American Legion in Connecticut is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization with great political influence perpetuated by its grassroots involvement in the legislation process. Legionnaires’ sense of obligation to their community, state and nation drives an honest advocacy for veterans in Washington. Contact us to join a post of The American Legion in Connecticut! 860.436.9986

Things You Can Do to Support Those Who Served

Things You Can Do to Support Those Who Served

 

Whether you realize it or not, you have a lot to thank veterans and their families for. They are among our families, friends, and neighbors, and there are many ways you can show your gratitude for their sacrifice. If you’re looking to empower, honor, and show appreciation for the people who keep the country safe, here are ideas you can explore. Make sure to visit the American Legion Department of Connecticut for more valuable resources for veterans.

Make a Card of Gratitude

Besides keeping the country safe, military members spend a lot of time away from their friends and family. Like everyone else, they need emotional support and to feel they’re appreciated.  Writing cards of appreciation for veterans and service members helps. It’s a reminder to them they’re loved and appreciated for the great sacrifice they make in keeping everyone safe. You can submit your letters and cards through an organization like Operation Gratitude.

Volunteer Your Time

It will cost you nothing to volunteer for a day in your community. There are veteran programs always looking for volunteers in different capacities. Reach out to a hospital near you or a veterans’ home and ask if there’s a way you can help. You can easily find volunteer programs you can participate in within your state. If you know a veteran neighbor in need of transportation for their medical appointment, you can help them whenever possible. Also, for those needing help around their homes, you can offer to mow their lawn or do other tasks.

Sponsor Companion Dogs for Veterans Battling PTSD

Over a third of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans will or have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most of them are dealing with the stress of their time in service. Handling PTSD can affect not just the veterans, but it also touches their families and friends. Through programs like Puppies Behind Bars, you can sponsor a dog and get updates on their life and training.

Help a Veteran Get Education

After time in the military, one can also pick a new career path. If they already have previously completed a course in a university, you can help them get started with a Master’s program, which would advance their career. There are online advanced degree programs that make it easy to work full-time and study at the same time. Some of these programs span several industries, including psychology, business, criminal justice, and more. Check if they’re eligible for the GI Bill program, which helps veterans pay for graduate school, college, and other training programs.

Build a Home for an Injured Veteran

Often, severely injured vets come home looking for a place to live that accommodates their disabilities. You can offer support to such vets through organizations like Building Homes for Heroes, which specially modifies homes to accommodate severely injured veterans to ensure they can live independently. The homes are offered at no cost. Also, the organization offers financial planning to help veterans manage their income and savings in a more responsible way.

Keep Veterans Off the Streets

Because of lack of support and social isolation, former troop members are likely to become homeless. In the U.S., veterans are about 6% of the population yet make up 8% of the homeless population. You can help homeless veterans rebuild their lives by supporting a program like the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, which offers a framework that volunteers can use to organize support within their own communities.  

Service members in the military, veterans, and their families sacrifice a lot to keep everyone safe. There are different ways you can help them feel appreciated for their sacrifice. Volunteer in projects that help veterans rebuild their lives after service and reach out to service members and their families to show your gratitude.

 

How to get better sleep as a Veteran

How to Get Better Sleep as a Veteran

 

One of the most common issues that veterans face in day-to-day life is sleep deprivation. While the CDC recommends that adults get seven or more hours of sleep each night, studies indicate many former military members are getting six hours or less. This can lead to several issues, such as poor productivity, reduced mental and physical performance, susceptibility to disease, and even earlier death.

If you are a veteran who is looking to improve your sleep and receive all the benefits that come with it, consider these practical tips:

Invest in a good mattress.  

The quality of your mattress has a lot to do with the quality of your sleep. If you’re waking up with back or neck pain, you toss and turn trying to get comfortable throughout the night, or your mattress is noisy, lumpy, or is beyond 8 years old, consider getting a new one. Since there are so many types of mattresses on the market, it’s important to narrow your search by considering a few factors. For example, should you move a size up? If a queen feels too crowded for you and your partner, a king-sized bed could do wonders for your sleep. Also, what positions do you normally sleep in, and do you prefer a firmer or softer mattress? Sort through the information out there, make comparisons, and find something that will keep you comfortable throughout the night.

 Optimize your sleep environment.

 Turning your bedroom into a sleep haven is also important. Keep the temperature between 60 and 68 degrees at night and keep it dark from bedtime until you wake up. Blackout shades can go a long way in keeping your bedroom dark, and these days they come in a wide variety of fabrics and styles. You can please your sense of style while upgrading your sleep environment. Also, make sure your bedroom and the surrounding areas of the home are quiet. If it’s difficult for you to sleep in complete silence, consider getting a sound machine. There are options that produce everything from soothing hums, soft music, to nature sounds. Some will even help you gently awaken in the morning. You should also take care to make your home as relaxing and tension-free as possible. Start by cleaning and decluttering your home. Tossing out old items will put you in a more positive frame of mind, which can reduce stress which can help you sleep better.

 Establish a steady sleep and wake schedule.

 As a former service member, you know all about routine and discipline. Applying those practices to your sleep schedule can help you get into a healthy rhythm. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on the weekends. On Health explains that establishing consistency for your biological body clock will help you to fall asleep and stay asleep on a nightly basis.

 Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake.

 Caffeine can stay in your system for hours and impede your ability to fall asleep. Avoid drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks after lunchtime. It can also help to moderate alcoholic beverages in the evenings. While alcohol might help you fall asleep, it is known to disrupt sleep throughout the night.

 Try forest therapy.

 Spending time outdoors comes with a plethora of benefits for your health and well-being. Forest therapy provides the opportunity to experience those benefits while enjoying the beauty of nature. Even a single forest therapy outing can reduce your stress levels and quiet your mind for better sleep but making it part of your self-care regimen can be particularly effective and healing. It’s very common for veterans to struggle with getting enough sleep, so know that you’re not alone if that’s your situation. Make sure you have a good mattress and take steps to turn your bedroom into a sleep haven. Establish a healthy routine and moderate your caffeine and alcohol intake. You might find that implementing these tips is all it takes to get the good night’s rest that you need and deserve.

JAM Travel Planners (14 Day Private Italy Tour for Legion Members, Family and Friends)

Jim and Ann Marie Dooley of JAM Travel Planners LLC

Are hosting a 14 Day Private Party Tour for

American Legion Members, Family and Friends

To Italy May7 -May 20, 2022

 

 

#1 – Fly to Italy
Fly out to Genoa Italy either from Boston or New York

Day #2 – Arrive in Italy
After changing planes at our European port of entry, we continue to Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA) where you will catch our coach for a 40-minute drive to our hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure.
Tonight, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6 pm (exact time will be advised on your tour arrival day) with your Tour Manager to discuss the upcoming journey that awaits you in Italy, followed by a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers.
Portofino is 2.54 miles from the hotel It is a 50 min walk or a 14 minute bus ride which you can catch right In front of the hotel.
Overnight: Genoa, Italy
Meals: Hotel Dinner

Day #3 – Milan & Stresa
After breakfast at the hotel, we head north to cosmopolitan Milan. Upon arrival in Milan, we take a walking tour starting at Sforza Castle. We then proceed to Duomo Square and Duomo Di Milano where we will take a 60 minute Private Tour of the Terraces before continuing on to a walk through the Victor Emmanuel Galleria, a pedestrian mall built in the 1800’s featuring a large arched glass ceiling. After time for lunch on your own we continue to Stresa on the beautiful Lago Maggiore where we will stay for 2 nights.
Overnight: Stresa, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #4
After breakfast we take an excursion by boat out to Isola Bella to explore the palace and gardens there. The rest of the day is yours to explore Stresa and experience local dining. You might want to take the Stresa-Alpine-Mottarone cable car which is a 20-minute journey to 1491 meters above sea level.
It is possible to climb to the top of the Mottarone with the “Chairlift Mottarone Vetta”, admire the amazing panorama that allows you to view 360 degrees from the Padana Plain to the peaks of the Alps, from the summit of Monte Rosa to the view of the seven Lakes.
Overnight: Stresa, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #5 – Travel to Venice
After breakfast we depart Lago Maggiore and make our way along the Po Valley to the Adriatic Sea and Venice. The discovery of Venice begins with a boat ride to the Island of Murano, known for its artistic and colorful glassware. While here, visit a local factory to witness the art of glass blowing. Afterward, continue to the main Venice Island and take a walking tour with your local guide through the maze of narrow alleyways and bridges before reaching St. Mark’s Square. Upon reaching the square, stop to view its most prominent monuments, the pink marble Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, and golden Basilica of San Marco. The Doge’s Palace was the official residence of the Venetian ruler. The Bridge of Sighs offers one of the most notable scenes of this Romantic city. Marvel at the golden Basilica of San Marco, that is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. It was built over several centuries in a fusion of Byzantine, Roman and Venetian architecture. The rest of the day is yours to explore. You might want to enjoy a gondola ride (not included).
Overnight: Venice, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #6 – Travel to Florence
Depart Venice for Tuscany, stopping in Bologna, a city that has been described as the center of all Italian cuisine! We will have time to explore the city and partake in some of their magnificent dishes (be sure to try the tortellini!). In the afternoon we continue to Florence to check into your hotel.
Overnight: Florence, Italy
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day #7 – Florence
Today’s walking tour of Florence begins after breakfast with a visit to the Accademia of Fine Arts, where Michelangelo’s David is housed; stand in awe of this glorious work of art. Walk by the Duomo, celebrated for its magnificent dome designed by Brunelleschi, and view the Baptistery’s renowned Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti. Continue a walk through the open-air art museum of Signoria Square, with its Palazzo Vecchio, first residence of the Medici family, today seat of the city government. Then on to the splendid Ponte Vecchio, also known as the “Old Bridge”. Florence is indeed the center of the world’s finest art and architecture. The afternoon is free to explore this spectacular Renaissance city before spending a romantic evening in the Tucson region with a winery visit and outdoor candlelight dinner in the vineyard. (Tour the wine estate sampling the wines along the way and enjoy Tuscan specialties made using local ingredients.)
Overnight: Florence, Italy
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day #8 – Travel to Rome via Orvieto
This morning we depart Florence after breakfast and travel to the town of Orvieto where we will explore the Orvieto Underground Caves. Time for lunch on your own before we continue to Rome for 2 nights, the astonishing city built on seven hills.
Overnight: Rome, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #9 – Rome
It’s a Rome Day! After breakfast we start our morning with a visit to the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. Stroll through one of the most important art collections of the world. Admire the Gallery of Tapestries and the Geographical Maps before arriving to the Sistine Chapel, with its great frescoes by Michelangelo. Continue to St. Peter’s Square, passing Bernini’s famous colonnade to view St. Peter’s Basilica, built on the burial site of Saint Peter, with the most famous Michelangelo’s Pieta. After lunch we enjoy an historic tour of ancient Rome beginning with a walk along the uneven and irregular paths of the Roman Forum, the original central plaza of the city from which ancient Rome developed. Next, view the triumphal Arch of Constantine, erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine’s tenth year of leadership over the Eternal City. On to the mighty Colosseum, the largest amphitheater built in the Roman Empire that seated over 50,000, where gladiatorial contests and public events were attended by the rich, the poor and by the Emperor himself.
Overnight: Rome, Italy
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day #10 – Travel to Amalfi
After breakfast we depart Rome for the Amalfi Coast, stopping along the way at the Benedictine monastery atop Monte Casino, a favorite papal retreat and site of some of the roughest fighting during World War II. In the afternoon we continue to the ancient city of Pompeii where we will have ample time to explore before going to our hotel in Sorrento for 3 nights.
Overnight: Sorrento, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #11 – Amalfi
Free day to explore Sorrento on your own or enjoy an optional full day journey to the colorful Isle of Capri by boat visiting the lovely Anacapri and explore the charming shops and chic boutiques as you stroll the island’s narrow streets. Continue to see “La Piazzetta,” the social heart of the island, on your way to the open-air Gardens of Augustus, from where you will appreciate breathtaking views of the famous Faraglioni rocks. (NOTE – Blue Grotto is not included as access is too weather-sensitive to book in advance).
Overnight: Sorrento, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #12 – Amalfi Drive
After breakfast we embark on one of the most spectacular drives in the world along the rugged Amalfi coast, with its dramatic landscapes and amazing panoramas. Nestled into mountains that rise thousands of feet above the sea, we will see enchanting villages, cliffs terraced with lemon groves, whitewashed villas and sparkling turquoise seas. Drive by Positano and stop in Amalfi, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to spend time at leisure in town. Return to our hotel in the late afternoon.
Overnight: Sorrento, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #13 – Return to Rome
After breakfast we depart Sorrento and continue to the town of Anzio on the Tyrrhenian Sea. We will see the beaches where the American forces landed during World War II and pay our respects at the Sicily–Rome American Cemetery and Memorial where almost 8,000 American soldiers who fell during the invasion now rest in peace. We continue to the region in or near the city of Ostia, the ancient port of Rome and check into our hotel and enjoy our Farewell Dinner.
Overnight: Rome, Italy
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day #14 – Depart Italy
Arrivederci Roma! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

PACKAGE INCLUDES:

* 12 nights First Class (4 star) accommodations at the following hotels or similar

* 1-night Grand Hotel Miramare, Genoa, Italy

* 2 nights Grand Hotel Bristol, Stresa, Italy

* 1-night Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

* 2 nights Grand Hotel Adriatico, Florence, Italy

* 2 nights Grand Hotel Palatino, Rome, Italy

*3 nights Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Sorrento, Italy

 * 1-night Grand Hotel Palatino, Ostia or Rome

  • 17 meals: 12 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
  • Services of English-speaking tour escort/manager from arrival to return
  • Local guides as required
  • Group airport arrival and departure transfers
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Porterage of one piece per person on arrival and departure at each hotel

NOT INCLUDED: Flights are not included and will be available for sale in July 2021. Meals unless specified, optional tours, gratuities, and anything not mentioned in the package includes section and Travel Protection Insurance

We are currently taking names of those interested in coming. Showing interest gives you priority and does not commit you to anything.  It helps us know how many are interested so we can price accordingly. We have a tentative pricing for 40 people at $3,599 per person for the land tour. Currently we have 22 people who are interested and when we reach the 40, we will start a standby list. Once COVID-19 is behind us and country travel restrictions are lifted we will confirm the pricing and will start taking deposits. Travel Insurance information and group air will be available at that time.

Interested! Email us your name, address, phone number and email address and we will get back to you.

Jim and Ann Marie Dooley.  JAM Travel Planners L.L.C.

Email us at: jim@jamtravelplanners.com

Hands Touching Hearts

Calling All Children, Grandchildren and Fans of the Greatest Generation…

The American Legion Department of Connecticut and Hands Touching Hearts
are teaming up to honor our heroes. Tell us how many World War II veterans you know and we’ll
surprise them with a world of thanks and a small token of appreciation!

We Need YOU!

Hands Touching Hearts is a global outreach effort originated by Ann M. Cosgrove, a graphic artist in Vernon,
Connecticut. The program gives Americans of all ages the opportunity to create handcrafted keepsakes for United
States military personnel. The thank-you gifts are distributed free of charge to active-duty service members,
reservists and veterans. Since the inception of Hands Touching Hearts in 2017, participants have numbered in the
thousands and ranged in age from 2 to 102!

To learn more, visit www.Anns.work and click on “Salute Our Troops.” Hands Touching Hearts

For more information please contact Department Headquarter at 860-436-9986 or Email ctadj@ctlegion.org