Sweet Sleep Goes Army - Let's get this party started!

Well friends, I’m not sure how it happened but we’re into September now and that means I am officially done working with clients (until December) and all efforts have transitioned to “course mode.” I have less than 2 weeks before I will be a full time course candidate on Army Junior Leadership Course and that means its time for me to get all my personal administration in order. Before heading out to this course I need to be certain that all personal appointments, financial considerations and family affairs have been dealt with to avoid any outside distraction or undue hardship. Members of the course have been sent their joining instructions, which is a package of pertinent administrative information that is beneficial prior to commencing course. Joining instructions (or JI’s as military jargon tends to shorten as many things into acronyms as possible) contain information like a list of military and personal kit items that should be packed, the course mailing address for letters and packages from loved ones, first timings that must be met and even the requirements of an autobiography that must be submitted to staff on day one of the course.

The JI’s also outline an example of a typical daily schedule that can be expected. Timings start at 0530 hrs and extend well into the night. Each day consists of physical training (PT), room inspections, classes and homework assignments. The schedule is designed to be taxing. Staff want to see a number of traits displayed from their candidates. They want to see time management skills, prioritization of tasks, teamwork and cohesion and the ability to work under demanding and realistic conditions to name a few. At this point, I have some degree of understanding regarding what is coming in the near future and I believe there are ways I can start to better prepare myself, specifically regarding sleep- of course.

The number one consideration to be made is to avoid any sleep debt before embarking on this course. That means that I need to place significant importance on my sleep hygiene for the next 2 weeks. Sleep debt is a concept that builds over time and can exacerbate the effects of sleep deprivation at a later point exponentially. It is much better to go into a course like this with a clear head, and a strong mental and physical foundation.

To the same effect as my previous point, I must start limiting my caffeine intake now. Crazy right, even as a sleep consultant I have one heck of a dependency on my morning cups of coffee! I’ll never give it up, I’m not even sorry. However, I will say that my experience as a sleep consultant has certainly brought to light the effects I notice after having my coffee. I know what I feel like when I get regular and full nights sleep. I also know what I feel like without it, and I know how caffeine can circumvent those negative consequences that come with missing my ZZzzz’s. It’s in my best interest to limit my coffee now so that I fully benefit from the effects of caffeine when I need it later.

If you’re having a hard time staying in the military mindset through these articles, feel free to think of them like steps you could take to prep for new-parent hood. Instead of receiving joining instructions for a course, maybe you just got back from a prenatal class where you discussed what life is going to look like with a new baby. As expecting parents we all know that sleepless nights are in our future. What we maybe don’t know is how to prepare for something that is still so unfamiliar to us. So for you soon-to-be Mamma’s and Poppa’s, get your shut eye while and when you can, limit your vices now for when you REALLY need them later, and just worry about going into this adventure with a great mindset. After all, no one can ever be FULLY prepared for a transformation that is as substantial as parenthood.

Until next time my friends, stay well and get some sleep!


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Cory Biederman

Petawawa, ON