If you’re used to the comfort and quiet of sleeping solo or with one other person, moving into a barracks, tent, cabin, or other sleep quarters with other people can be a shock to the system. Fortunately, there’s growing awareness of the importance of military personnel getting enough sleep. But with all those breathing, snoring, sleep-talking, tossing and turning bodies around you, it may be difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep initially. Here are easy ways to improve your odds of getting good quality sleep in a room with other people.
- Create quiet. While you can’t control the noise around you—from outside vehicles, snoring soldiers, and other sources—you can mitigate your exposure to it. For starters, it can help to wear earplugs and a sleep mask to block out noise, light, and other distractions. If you have trouble falling asleep, listening to relaxing tunes such as classical music (with ear buds) may help you fall asleep faster.
- Expect to be uncomfortable. Of course, you should do whatever you can to make yourself comfortable while you sleep. But it’s wise to shift your mindset and expect at least a modicum of discomfort in your new sleeping arrangements. Accepting this new reality can help you cope more easily with frustration, stress, or anxiety that may mount as you try to fall asleep. Try to accept your current conditions as your new normal.
- Establish a nightly sleep routine. While your lights-out and wake-up hours may be pretty consistent during the week, the weekends may be another story. It’s a mistake to stay out partying until 1:00am if you have to get up at 5:00am.—that’s a set-up for social jet lag, making it harder for you to fall asleep on Sunday or Monday nights. Instead, try to keep your circadian rhythm fairly steady, even on the weekends. Within four hours of bedtime, refrain from the use of electronics and the consumption of caffeinated beverages or nicotine.
It probably won’t take long for you to grow accustomed to your new sleeping arrangements. Eventually, you’ll be so tired out by your physical and mental training that you’ll no longer be fazed by the presence of others. You’ll just be relieved to hit the sack.