Leading From the Front: Ensuring Soldiers Get Sufficient Quality Sleep
2/3 of the Active Component (AC) Force is Sleep Deprived. Only 1 in 3 Soldiers are attaining the target of 7+ hours of sleep on duty days.
The consequences of limited sleep:
- Adversely affect your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to a cold, flu, or even COVID-19.
- Increase the chances for a motor vehicle accident as fatigue is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents.
- Similiar to drinking alcohol, as getting less than 5 hours of sleep for more than 5 days is equivalent to legal intoxication.
These Recommendations Can Help:
Be a sleep role model
Know what good sleep hygiene looks like
Do the things needed to help improve sleep
Sleep Matters: Encourage SOLDIERS to set a daily routine that allows for 7+ hours of quality sleep to maintain good health. Leaders should do the same.
Tips for Falling Asleep and Staying Asleep:
- Evening Screen Time Can Sabotage Sleep: Limit exposure to electronic devices prior to going to bed. If Screens Can't Be Avoided: Advise Soldiers to use FREE blue-light filters and apps on their electronics.
- Caffeine: go caffeine-free at least 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine interferes with sleep quality and quantity. Leaders should acknowledge that changing these habits may be difficult at first but should make it clear to Soldiers that doing so will greatly benefit their health.
Minor Adjustments to a Sleep Space Can Help:
- Temperature and Lighting: Many individuals sleep better in a cool and dark room.
- Minimize Electronics in the Bedroom: This includes TVs, computers, smart phones or any other devices with a screen.
- When Noise is an Issue: Recommend occasionally wearing earplugs or a sleep mask when in a disruptive sleep environment.
Communicating with Your Soldiers:
- Acknowledge Anxiety and stress related to COVID-19 can impact sleep
- For those Soldiers who are having difficulty sleeping, encourage the use of relaxation techniques such as meditation or slow deep breathing to reduce anxiety or calm racing thoughts.
- Reinforce the importance of healthy sleep tips by the periodic use of text messaging and other social media platforms.
- Here are recommended APPS for Sleep Medication, Relaxation and Sleep Measurement.
When to Seek Professional Help:
- When experiencing ongoing sleep difficulty.
- Are often tired during the day (despite sleeping at least 7+ hours the night before).
- Consistently have a reduced ability to perform daytime activities.
*Call your Primary Care or Behavioral Health provider if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.
For More Sleep Information:
- Army Public Health Center COVID-19 communication products:
- The Military Health System Nurse Advice Line is available 24/7 by phone, web chat, and video chat. Call 1-800-874-2273 option #1
- Army COVID-19 Information Hotline for trusted resources and answers to your questions! 1-800-984-8523 Overseas DSN 312-421-3700 Stateside DSN 421-3700