Sleep Tips and Strategies For Firefighters
By: Jordan Ponder
Everyone can agree that sleep is important to your health. Studies show us sleep is essential for mental and physical health, but they also show us that it is critical for proper brain metabolic and hormonal function. Additionally, every firefighter knows the cost of a sleepless night. It negatively impacts your mood, focus and motivation the following day. Sadly, sleep continues to be an elusive for firefighters all over the country. With sleep being so valuable and it being such a challenge for our demographic what can we do?
People think that in order to BE SUCCESSFUL you need to make drastic steps. This is not the case. In reality we can BE SUCCESSFUL by taking small practical, methodical and immediately applicable steps towards our goal. This is what you receive as part of the BE SUCCESSFUL program within the BE DYNAMIC training system. To help you BE SUCCESSFUL, we’ll equip you with pragmatic solutions to real issues designed to help you achieve your goals Here we’re going to assist in establishing some small simple strategies to help you BE SUCCESSFUL in gaining better sleep.
As firefighters, we divide our time between the firehouse and home. Our sleep is at the mercy of emergencies and the unexpected nature of the day every time we work. As a result, we have little to no control over when we sleep, how long we sleep and when we wake up. However, when we are at home, we have greater autonomy over critical factors to help us sleep better. To BE SUCCESSFUL in gaining more sleep you need to BE SCHEDULED in your sleep patterns.
Dr. Steve Lawrence and Dr. Steven Mardon of The Harvard medical School have done extensive work on evaluating how to get a good night’s sleep. One of the overwhelming factors that benefits sleep is to BE SCHEDULED in when you sleep and when you wake. By providing your body with predictable variables, reinforcing its natural tendencies and being consistent, you’ll be teaching your body to make the most of the time you spend lying in bed.
Find how your body natural responds throughout the day. Look for times in the evening when you begin to feel restful. When this occurs don’t fight the instinct to sleep. Rather allow yourself to gracefully fall into the sleep that your body craves. As you continue to do this in conjunction with consistent evening eating and drinking habits, your body will begin to gravitate towards a regular waking time. Just like there is the urge to fight sleep when you feel restful, there may be the urge to fight waking when your body is ready to wake. Don’t do this! Allow your body the opportunity to find its own rhythm and continue to support it. Now, as time goes on there may be times that your body doesn’t quite want to maintain the habits it has established. Continue to reinforce what has been working! It will pay dividends in the quality of time you spend in bed as you maintain to BE SCHEDULED!
Sleep is elusive for firefighters because of the uncontrolled nature of our sleep in the firehouse. But what if you could identify other controllable factors and secure them in a way that will still allow you to make the most of the time you have in bed? To BE SCHEDULED is one of 3 ways you can BE SUCCESSFUL in gaining more sleep. You can receive these additional small simple successful strategies to gain better sleep even within the unpredictable nature of the fire service as being part of the BE SUCCESSFUL program for FREE! Email email@example.com to receive these for FREE in order to BE SUCCESSFUL in gaining more sleep TODAY!
This article was written The First Twenty Firefighter Functional Training Panel member Jordan Ponder. Ponder is a Captain with the Milwaukee (WI) Fire Department assigned to Engine 30. As an NASM and ACE certified trainer, he is the lead peer fitness trainer for the MFD holding multiple functional fitness certifications. Along with being a professional bodybuilder for the WNBF, he is the director of FIREFIGHTER DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE TRAINING which trains health improving safety with workshops, certifications and consultations. You can contact Captain Ponder via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.