The demanding nature of military operations often creates situations in which obtaining enough sleep on a regular basis is difficult or impossible. Such chronic, insufficient sleep (anything less than 7�8 hours per 24 hours) produces a sleep debt
� a chronic state of sleep need that is characterized by impaired performance and readiness. The rate at which the sleep debt (and performance deficits) grows depends upon how much nightly sleep is restricted. The only way to eliminate the debt is to obtain sleep.
This figure shows the relationship between hours of sleep per night and performance. You can use this chart to gauge the impact of nightly sleep duration on performance. As shown, anything less than 7-8 hours of good-quality sleep per 24 hours negatively impacts performance � impairment increases as nightly sleep duration decreases.
With 7-8 hours of sleep per 24 hours, Soldiers sustain optimal performance for the entire waking day (Green zone)
. When Soldiers get less than 7-8 hours sleep, performance degrades over time. Getting 4-6 hours of sleep every 24 hours will keep Soldiers in the Amber zone
for several days, then they fall into the Red zone.
Getting less than 4 hours of sleep guarantees that Soldiers immediately fall into the Amber Zone
and quickly progress into the Red Zone
Less than 5% of Soldiers can sustain performance on less than 7-8 hours sleep per 24 hours. If a Leader is in this 5% group, it may be difficult to understand that most Soldiers are not in this group and to foster a unit environment where 7-8 hours is considered normal.