Why is sleep important?
Sleep is a biological need for brain function. Soldiers require 7–8 hours of quality sleep every 24-hours to maintain their mental edge. When Soldiers do not get enough sleep, their mental acuity suffers—putting themselves and fellow Soldiers at risk for making errors that lead to accidents and mishaps. Insufficient sleep is a safety risk and a threat to mission success.
Getting enough quality sleep helps to maintain your physical and
psychological health, quality of life, and safety. Sleep is the only time when
the brain can recover from the wear and tear of daily life—the brain cannot
recover during wakefulness, even if you are resting.
Your brain needs sleep to restore and repair, grow new brain connections to
work efficiently, form memories and process new information. So prioritize sleep
when planning training or when learning a new skill or task. Sleeping well
before learning will help with attention and understanding; Sleeping well after
learning, will improve your ability to both remember and use the newly-acquired
skills and information.
Performance benefits of sleep
The amount of sleep that adults need varies according to age and genes
inherited. Most adults need 7–8 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Very few people
can perform optimally on less than 7–8 hours.
Soldiers overestimate their own proficiency with insufficient sleep. In part,
this is because insufficient sleep impairs the brain's fundamental ability to
function efficiently–Soldiers cannot overcome this physiological change by
motivation, initiative, willpower or caffeine.
You are sleep deprived if:
- You fall asleep immediately upon going to bed
- You fall asleep during routine low stimulus activity such as driving
- You need an alarm to wake you up