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Four virtual resources to improve your sleep

Approximately 15% of men and 5% of women in America have obstructive sleep apnea. Between 10 and 15% of adults have chronic insomnia with daytime consequences.

Good sleep is pivotal to your overall health. Although many Veterans deal with the consequences of poor sleep every day, there are solutions to sleep issues. Through VA, Veterans can access virtual sleep resources.

Here are four resources you can use today to improve your sleep quality:

1. Path to Better Sleep course

VA’s Path to Better Sleep course provides free training on various sleep issues. These trainings help you better understand and manage your sleep.

Connect with your VA care team to learn about improving sleep

The program has four modules:

Sleep Check-up: A five-minute questionnaire can help identify possible sleep problems and suggest treatment options.

Sleep 101: Examine sleep-interfering behaviors and gain tips to develop better sleep habits.

SleepEZ: If you struggle with insomnia, you can learn how to manage it with digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (dCBT-i).

BreatheEZ: Get a Veteran’s point of view about sleep apnea and how their experience getting tested and receiving treatment.

While the course is a helpful supplement, it is not intended to replace treatment. Always consult your VA health care team first.

2. Insomnia Coach and CBT-i Coach apps

Right after sleep apnea, insomnia is the second most common sleep issue Veterans face. VA has two apps that provide treatment-based support:

Insomnia Coach offers a five-week training plan based on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i). The training plan aims to regulate your sleep and reduce how often you wake up involuntarily. Insomnia Coach has strategies to improve the quality of your sleep, adopt better sleep habits and more.

If you’re already participating in CBT-i with your health care team, CBT-i Coach can supplement your therapy sessions. The app contains a diary to note changes in your sleep patterns, a personalized “sleep prescription” with sleep and wake times, motivational messages and tips to reduce your caffeine intake.

3. Annie for Veterans

Annie for Veterans is a text messaging service that empowers Veterans to take an active role in their health care with automated self-care reminders. Veterans can register for two Annie health subscriptions that help address sleeping difficulties:

CPAP Use Reminder: Veterans with sleep apnea can expect eight texts a week reminding them to use their CPAP machine at bedtime.

Master Sleep Diary: Veterans receive nine reminders a day over a month to track their sleep patterns and issues in a virtual sleep diary.

4. Mindfulness Coach app

Mindfulness means zeroing in on the present moment without distraction or judgment. It can be used to reduce stress, boost focus and cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression, which can significantly affect how well you rest. The Mindfulness Coach app offers a 14-level training plan that contains breathing exercises, guided meditations and more.

Better sleep can improve your overall health and quality of life. Connect with your VA care team to learn more about improving sleep through telehealth tools.

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