Sleep is a biological need for brain function and is critical for sustaining the mental abilities required for success on the battlefield. Soldiers require 7�8 hours of high quality sleep every 24-hour period
to sustain operational readiness.
When Leaders and Soldiers do not get enough sleep, their performance suffers � putting themselves and fellow Soldiers at risk for committing errors that lead to accidents and mishaps. Insufficient sleep is a threat to mission success.
The so-called �adrenaline rush� during combat or training does not compensate for insufficient sleep. A sleep-deprived Soldier might transpose digits while entering coordinates into a fire-control system or administer the wrong dose or even the wrong medication. More generally, a sleep-deprived Soldier might make wrong tactical decisions. For these reasons, Leaders must prioritize sleep for their Soldiers and themselves.
Common combat tasks impaired by insufficient sleep include (but are not limited to):
- Detecting and appropriately determining threat level
- Requesting indirect fire
- Coordinating squad tactics
- Integrating range cards
Insufficient sleep also impairs one�s ability to self-monitor. Leaders and Soldiers overestimate their own proficiency under such conditions. This is, in part, because insufficient sleep impairs the brain�s fundamental ability to function efficiently � a physiological change that cannot be overcome by motivation, initiative, willpower or caffeine.