Author Topic: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]  (Read 61915 times)

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Offline northern girl

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Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« on: January 09, 2010, 10:41:25 »
Hi - so I hope this isn't a ridiculous question, but here goes...I've struggled with falling asleep at night for years...I don't take medication, I just toss and turn until my mind finally exhausts itself. In truth I can operate really well on four hours of sleep...but I've recently tried listening to a relaxation exercise on my ipod, and have found it works wonders. So my question is where does the army come down on the issue of ipods during training, deployment etc.

Like I said, it's not the end of the world to only get a few hours of sleep per night - I've been doing it for years, and fully expect that many nights of training and field exercises and deployment will deny me more than a few winks at a time - but having finally found a solution I'm wondering if I can keep using it depending on where I am and what I'm doing, or if I"ll have to turn it over.

Trust me, I expect a certain degree of pain and exhaustion - I know that sleep deprivation is one of the best ways to test a soldier's ability to operate under stress. I'm also guessing that part of what's keeping me awake right now is the excitement and level of uncertainty about what direction my career is going to be taking me, and that as training intensifies and my body and mind are increasingly exhausted the problem might work itself out...but as Jason Bourne said, rest is a weapon (smile, joke, I know this isn't fiction - humour is my main source of relief to deal with exhaustion)

I can imagine that people who are deployed are under incredible stress, and probably some of them also have issues with sleep...what are some techniques and permissible solutions that I can try working on now while I still have the time? Any advise or shared personal experience is appreciated.

Thanks, and cheers.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

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Offline armychick2009

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2010, 10:46:32 »
Hi Northern girl, from the other northern girl!

I'm actually interested in this as well. I've heard conflicting information pertaining to this... am wondering if an MP3 player/Ipod is one of those things you have to keep in the boot box and can use on weekends with free time?

Glad to hear you found something that is working :)


Offline Lil_T

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2010, 11:01:11 »
Normally, and depending on your course staff, your electronics are taken away from you for the indoc period (first 4 weeks).  After which time, again, depending on your course staff, you may be given your electronics back on weekends only - or you may be permitted to have them at the end of the day. My old platoon didn't get their electronics back til week 8.  So it's not something you can count on.  Having these items is a privilege not a right while on course.  As for having them to help you sleep, I can see that as being a big no.  Being that if they allow you to have your ipod to sleep, they'd have to give it to everyone. 

Feel free to bring them with you.  Just be prepared to forfeit them.  You'll get them back eventually
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Offline MSEng314

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2010, 11:20:45 »
It depends a lot on the course staff, we got our stuff back after indoc in week 4 and we could use it as soon as we were finished training for the day, but it couldn't leave the floor.

The platoon who started a few weeks behind us got to keep their electronics the whole time, even during indoc, and could use them pretty much any time they weren't training.

So by all means bring it, your staff will tell you when you can use it, and under what circumstances.

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2010, 12:08:10 »
So my question is where does the army come down on the issue of ipods during training, deployment etc.


Quote
Like I said, it's not the end of the world to only get a few hours of sleep per night -

Call me crazy but even though alot has changed since i did basic, by the time 2300 rolled around each day, we were all too tired to worry about falling asleep or not.

People need to stop worrying about small details. People have been doing this for decades without iPods..........

Offline ArmyVern

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2010, 12:18:50 »
People need to stop worrying about small details. People have been doing this for decades without iPods..........

I just carry on not sleeping - been doing it for years. For the OP: I'm an insomniac - no drugs or other ...

There's a bonus in that when in the field or on Ops --- I've got the "shiitty" stove watchs looked after and when shifting, my troops get sent home early because I'm going to be there working anyway because "I'm up anyway."

Other than that, music has never worked for me (although the french course is sometimes able to suck the life out of me) so I just surf the net here. Makes me feel somewhat productive between 0100-0500 hrs.  :-\
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Offline MSEng314

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2010, 14:34:33 »
If you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) St. Jean may still be under H1N1 restrictions: 2200 lights out on regular evenings, or 2100 lights out if you PT the next morning.

Personally I would have rather had the extra two hours of working time, my parade boots would have looked much better, among other things....

Oh well, you get used to life there no matter what, just takes time.

Offline BearPusher

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2010, 15:46:41 »
Well for BMQ the St. Jean list music players as restricted at the discretion of your course instructors, while on the Borden list music players are prohibited and will be taken away and returned upon departing. Just think you're already used to working with little sleep, so you've got a head start on things.
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Offline northern girl

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2010, 23:08:56 »
Thanks for everyone's info...I guess I'll just see what happens when I get there.

Now, for the next three months, I'm going to reduce the number of pillows in my bed from 7 to 1.  I don't think the instructors would appreciate me showing up with two body pillows for 3 am snuggling ::)
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

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Offline Pusser

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2010, 23:28:34 »
Training and exercises are one thing, but I would say that in most operational situations, iPods/MP3 players, etc are a BAD idea.  In fact, any kind of headphone that isn't job-related is essentially prohibited on board ship (although you are normally permitted to listen to audio 'letters" from home or wear a headset while exercising).  The reason is simple, you need all your senses, particularly when asleep, to ensure you can react to emergencies.  Note that when the alarm goes, the bare minimum standard to get to your station - fully dressed and ready to go - is six minutes.  This means you need to wake up and start moving immediately.  You can't wait for your brain to sort through the "soothing music" to realize that there is an alarm sounding.  If one of your buddies has fallen into the North Atlantic in January, he would appreciate it if the Rescue Watch closed up even sooner!
Sure, apes read Nietzsche.  They just don't understand it.

Offline MasterInstructor

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2010, 03:06:25 »
If you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) St. Jean may still be under H1N1 restrictions: 2200 lights out on regular evenings, or 2100 lights out if you PT the next morning.

Personally I would have rather had the extra two hours of working time, my parade boots would have looked much better, among other things....

Oh well, you get used to life there no matter what, just takes time.

Those restrictions sound very nice :)

Offline ArmyVern

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2010, 04:39:23 »
Those restrictions sound very nice :)

Odds are that a person would be bagged and ready for bed by then anyway.  :)
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If you or someone you love is having difficulty & would like to speak to someone who has been through a similar experience, who understands, & will respect your need for privacy and confidentiality, contact OSISS toll-free at 1-800-883-6094. You can locate the peer closest to you by logging on to www.osiss.ca, clicking on “Contact us” link & then choosing the “Peer” or “Family Support Network”. Help IS out there.

Offline northern girl

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2010, 05:43:14 »
"You can't wait for your brain to sort through the "soothing music" to realize that there is an alarm sounding."

Not to worry - 10 or 15 minutes of "soothing music" at a really really low volume is enough to get me to sleep - the device goes into sleep mode after that amount of time and I"m out like a light...worked like a charm last night - bed at 11:30, asleep by 11:45, wide awake and ready for another day at 3:45. The concept of a solid 8 hour sleep is a distant memory for me. ;)
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

"Nil illigitimi carborundum" do not let the bastards get you down!

Offline RubberTree

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2010, 05:49:12 »
If soothing music helps you sleep and stops you from tossing and turning it sounds like you have more of a sleep pattern problem as opposed to insomnia. True insomniacs (as I'm sure Vern can tell you) can't seem to fall asleep no matter what.
What this all boils down to is its all about patterns. If you lie in bed every night for 4 hours tossing and turning, your body gets used to that pattern and will continue it. If you fall asleep to music...it will get used to that as well. The advantage of BMQ is that you will be so exhausted, chances are your body will just sleep...regardless of how much music there is around.

Offline ArmyVern

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2010, 06:30:35 »
As a side note to another bonus (being that I'm in the shacks ...) I did get my laundry done in the O Dark Thirty hours this morning.

All the washers AND all the dryers were free!!  ;D
Hard by MCpl Elton Adams

If you or someone you love is having difficulty & would like to speak to someone who has been through a similar experience, who understands, & will respect your need for privacy and confidentiality, contact OSISS toll-free at 1-800-883-6094. You can locate the peer closest to you by logging on to www.osiss.ca, clicking on “Contact us” link & then choosing the “Peer” or “Family Support Network”. Help IS out there.

Offline northern girl

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2010, 06:52:40 »
Rubber Tree - I believe there's different types of "insomnia" - some can't fall asleep for the life of them, others wake up continuously throughout the night etc. The issue of patterns is probably bang on with me though - good thing I have a couple months to work through some of this...and yes, I'll probably be so exhausted once training starts that it will cease to be an issue. On the other hand, if this "pattern" persists, I'll have the advantage of getting my laundry done in the wee hours like ArmyVern has pointed out...a silver lining to every cloud, right?
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

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Offline CountDC

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2010, 08:02:35 »
have you talked to a doctor about this?  I had the same problem for years, put it down as patterns developed from working/partying all night and lived with it.  2 years ago I talked to the doc, went to the sleep lab and found out I actually have sleep apnea (which I never thought of as I was under the belief that it was only extreme overweight people that suffered it).   Depending on the results surgery or a breathing aparatus may be used (military issued mine but I am going to talk to the doc again about surgery, D9 not happy with the darth vader sound effects).
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Offline forumdood007

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2010, 08:06:32 »
I can relate...never enough sleep. I think my problem started 6 years ago while undergoing chemotherapy. That stuff messed up a few things, including giving me tinnitus and causing insomnia, both normal side effects. I was prescribed zopiclone for the insomnia and was told that it is non habit forming. I still take it occasionally and was thinking that I would not be allowed to bring it with me to BMQ. I also find background music helpful as well as using one of those cheap noise generators. The ones that pump out storm, waves, rainforest type sounds. So, without these tools, I am counting on having BMQ wear me out completely and when my head hits the pillow at 11, I am out till 5....crossing my fingers, lol

Offline MasterInstructor

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2010, 01:37:05 »
I am counting on having BMQ wear me out completely and when my head hits the pillow at 11, I am out till 5....crossing my fingers, lol

Same, I don't think I will have any problem with people snoring or anything... At home I have issues as well...

Offline northern girl

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2010, 10:06:52 »
My brother just started BOTC a few days ago - he had the same issues with falling asleep and staying asleep as mentioned in this thread - he says it's not an issue anymore! After a full day of mental and physical activity ( and non-stop marching wherever they go - he says they look so awkward still!) 5 am comes pretty quickly. I imagine most people, and hopefully myself, will find the same...

I am still curious about hearing from someone who's actually been deployed and who has experience trying to quiet the mind after a chaotic day...I can only imagine at this point what it's like to have bullets fired at you and then try to lay your head down and catch a few hours of sleep...thoughts of home, thoughts of the people you're responsible for...I'm sure everyone responds differently, but I'd be really interested to hear from someone with experience about how able they were to "adjust" (if that's the right word?) or cope with this...
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

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Offline Simian Turner

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2010, 01:12:11 »
On deployment - you can try reading, talking with others, chatting on the net or writing a journal - each of these activities can help put things in perspective before going to sleep.  If you have issues with accomplishing things during your day that keep you up at night then try making a list of issues or doing simple puzzles - Sudoku, crosswords, find-a-words.  Anything to provide distraction and settle the mind for even a few minutes can begin the wind-down process necessary to begin to fall asleep. 

If you begin to get restless don't fight it, get up and try another restful activity (re-start the wind-down.)  If you want to fight it, then try doing simple math patterns with eyes closed in a relaxing position - count backward from 200 or 100 by 3, 7 or doing multiplication of simple odd numbers (3,7,13).  Chuckle if you like but these activities have helped me for years in many stressful situations - courses, deployment, globe-trotting, while in hospital, university, and of course while lying beside a snoring wife.
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Offline northern girl

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2010, 09:47:44 »
thanks simian...I do the math thing sometimes without even consciously trying to - the mind just starts going through the motions, and yeah, it's exhausting! The old adage about counting sheep has been around for a while - must be for a reason.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

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Offline Pusser

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2010, 14:10:58 »
An important thing to remember is to take a little "me" time periodically.  Even if it's just for a few minutes, you should try to sit down, clear your thoughts and think about things that make you happy, read a book or just veg (NB:  when you're on task as the leader on BMQ, it's not a good time to do this).  If you constantly try to stay switched on, you will crumble and then you're not doing anyone any good.  If you're in the Megaplex, GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY, even if it's just for a walk.
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Offline -Jules-

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2010, 21:29:14 »
Just curious, but several people already (the chronic insomniacs) have mentioned getting up and doing stuff when they can't sleep. Do none of you find that doing that makes it worse?
I can't ever remember a time when I've slept properly, but I find (especially during really bad stretches) that my body much prefers the rest that I can get from simply laying in bed. If I get up to do anything, I just look like a zombie...running into walls, forgetting to open doors before trying to go through them, etc.
Does staying up help y'all fall asleep or have you just gotten bored of laying there and not doing anything?
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Offline Kratos

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Re: Sleep Issues on course [MERGED]
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2010, 18:19:59 »
Have any of you guys with sleep problems tried supplementing with GABA, ZMA or melatonin?