Army study recommends more sleep for recruits at basic, which drill sergeants will absolutely not disregard or anything

Health & Fitness
Sgt. Ryan Blount, 27th Brigade, New York Army National Guard, rests in a hallway after a full day of field training, before heading back out Jan. 16, 2015, at Alexandria International Airport, La. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Cliffton Dolezal)

(Reuters Health) - Soldiers who experience sleep problems during basic combat training may be more likely to struggle with psychological distress, attention difficulties, and anger issues during their entry into the military, a recent study suggests.

"These results show that it would probably be useful to check in with new soldiers over time because sleep problems can be a signal that a soldier is encountering difficulties," said Amanda Adrian, lead author of the study and a research psychologist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.

"Addressing sleep problems early on should help set soldiers up for success as they transition into their next unit of assignment," she said by email.

Adrian and colleagues surveyed 1,577 soldiers during the 10-week basic combat training at weeks 1, 3, 6, and 9 to see whether they were experiencing sleep problems or any issues with mood disorders, anger, or attention.

About 61% of the soldiers in the study never had a sleep problem. Another 13% started out with sleep issues but recovered during training, while 20% developed sleep problems during training and about 7% had chronic sleep issues throughout the study.

Compared to soldiers who never had sleep problems, those who recovered from initial sleep problems started out with higher psychological distress, anger reactions and attention problems but steadily improved throughout training, the study found.

Those who developed sleep problems during training or had chronic sleep problems had slower improvements in psychological distress and a decline in attention throughout the study. And the group with chronic sleep problems also had increasing anger issues throughout the study.

Sleep problems have long been linked to poor mental health, emotional regulation, cognitive function, and job performance, the researchers note in Sleep Health. But little is known about how sleep problems among people in high-risk occupations like firefighting and policing might impact their job performance, or the safety of people they're charged with protecting.

The current study wasn't a controlled experiment, so it can't prove sleep problems caused issues with mood, attention or anger reactions. Another limitation is that researchers relied on soldiers to accurately recall and report on any problems with sleep, attention, anger or mood. And the study didn't assess sleep duration or underlying factors that might lead some soldiers to develop sleep problems while others did not.

"There is evidence that both reduced hours of sleep and poor quality of sleep are associated with adverse mental health and cognitive functioning," said Sanford Nidich, director of the Center for Social and Emotional Health at Maharishi University of Management Research Institute in Fairfield, Iowa.

"The results of this current study on soldiers undergoing basic combat training provide further support on the connection between sleep quality and mental health, especially in the areas of anger reaction and attention," Nidich, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email. "While it is difficult to conclusively determine cause-and-effect from this study, it is clear that both quality of sleep as well as adverse mental health issues need to be addressed in terms of prevention and treatment."

Military personnel, like civilian adults, need approximately 8 hours of sleep per night for optimal job performance, said Dr. Hohui Wang, a psychiatry researcher at the University of California San Francisco who wasn't involved in the study.

"Persistent insomnia negatively impacts cardiometabolic and neurocognitive functions, and is associated with future development of PTSD, depression and anxiety," Wang said by email.

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Two military bases in Florida and one in Arizona will see heat indexes over 100 degrees four months out of every year if steps aren't taken to reduce carbon emissions, a new study warns.

Read More Show Less

This Veterans Day, two post-9/11 veterans-turned congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation to have a memorial commemorating the Global War on Terrorism built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Read More Show Less

Between 500 and 600 U.S. troops are expected to remain in Syria when all is said and done, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley said on Sunday.

Milley's comments on ABC News' "This Week" indicate the U.S. military's footprint in Syria will end up being roughly half the size it was before Turkey invaded Kurdish-held northeast Syria last month.

Read More Show Less
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a fund-raising fish fry for U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at Hawkeye Downs Expo Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — On Veterans Day, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is proposing a "veteran-centric" Department of Veterans Affairs that will honor the service of the men and women of the military who represent "the best of who we are and what we can be."

Buttigieg, who served as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan, said service members are united by a "shared commitment to support and defend the United States" and in doing so they set an example "for us and the world, about the potential of the American experiment."

Read More Show Less
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a Climate Crisis Summit with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (not pictured) at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. November 9, 2019. (Reuters/Scott Morgan)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders promised on Monday to boost healthcare services for military veterans if he is elected, putting a priority on upgrading facilities and hiring more doctors and nurses for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

To mark Monday's Veterans Day holiday honoring those who served in the military, Sanders vowed to fill nearly 50,000 slots for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals at facilities run by Veterans Affairs during his first year in office.

Sanders also called for at least $62 billion in new funding to repair, modernize and rebuild hospitals and clinics to meet what he called the "moral obligation" of providing quality care for those who served in the military.

Read More Show Less