Sleep Deprivation at USNA

Navy21

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I recently went on a candidate visit weekend to USNA and noticed that many midshipmen are sleep deprived. Through all the classes I attended there always seemed to be a few midshipmen dozing off and some that were completely passed out. I found out that 4th class mids get the most sleep overall but will get less sleep with each passing year. Plebes claimed on average around 6.5-7 hours of sleep a night while first class claimed as little as 3.5-4 hours on a normal night. To me, this seems terribly inefficient as college students are recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night and athletes are recommended to get even more. I understand that with less sleep these mids think they have more time to get things done, but this obviously does not seem to be working for them if they cannot concentrate.

I received an offer of appointment to USNA and I plan on accepting it very soon. I just want to know if this lack of sleep is something I should expect and prepare myself for or, with good time management skills, be an issue I shouldn't have to worry about?
 
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When I attended summer seminar, one of the mid's mentioned that no matter how much homework she had, she always got 8 hours of sleep. She said she didn't have to study as much because she was alert during class and couldn't function with any less sleep. If this is similar to your current study habits, then you shouldn't have to worry as long as you prioritize.
 

prj888

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Speaking simply based on my experience thus far as a freshman engineering major in NROTC, I can say that this sleep deprivation is prevalent in college as a whole (especially in STEM majors) and is only furthered via NROTC (or USNA obligations). My advice would be to start working on time management skills now if you currently lack them, these skills will help you schedule your day in order to have the most time to sleep each night.
 

ktnatalk

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Some Mids have time management issue, and some chose to watch Australian Open live in their time zone!

If you have good time management habit you will be fine.
 

anne99

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I teach time management skills to Corps of Cadets students at Texas A&M. Time management is very, very different in college than it was in high school. Mom isn't there to remind you to get to work, you have a fair amount of freedom to make your own choices (sometimes that means doing just about anything other than what you should). It's more a matter of self-management. So many cadets (and moms) totally freak out as soon as the first round of test grades come out and they are looking for ways to regain control. Even though there is mandatory study time Sunday through Thursday there, that doesn't automatically mean that you know how to use that time or that you'll get great grades. Learning time management specifically for college is critical. I teach a basic time blocking method that works well for students with crazy schedules - like ROTC/Corps/athletes. I'm thinking the same skills would be extremely beneficial at USNA. When my son started feeling the pressure at A&M, I stepped in to help. It turned into a booming business. Just get those skills before you get there. I can't stress that enough. (Hoping my son can use his new skills at USNA - still waiting!)
 

NavyHoops

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College students in general, including Mids, are pretty sleep deprived. Much of it is self inflicted. Just like most college kids, Mids they love to spend time on social media, Netflix, and a million other things before settling down to study. I was one who slept 7-9 hours a night as a Mid. I was an athlete and my schedule was very busy, but I got really good at planning my weeks, utilizing my weekends and getting sleep. I had to manage my academics and role on the team. I learned I did better staying awake in class and absorbing the materials than I did staying awake cramming. It takes some Mids longer than others to learn this. They do offer time management type classes to Mids. They also have Plebes plan their weeks out on purpose. Its to get them to look to the future and plan appropriately. You will have to learn how, where and when you study best as a Mid. Some do better in their rooms, others finding an isolated place that is quiet. How much sleep vs study time you will have to figure out how you work best. As a Plebe you are stuck in Bancroft on Sundays. How you utilize that time is critical to your week.
 

Jameis WM

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Brother is a 2/C. He gets about 4 hours. He's an athlete and this season he has games every weekend. He gets sleep when and where he can, often skips breakfast. He says his best talent is the ability to sleep anywhere. He fell asleep at a mandatory basketball game and had many pictures taken. He does what he does the succeed. What some find inefficient works for him. His motto is "sleep is for wussies." This is just one mid out of many.
 

BTCS/USN

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From the perspective of an ex-fleet sailor, sleep deprivation isn't only an Academy issue. Shipboard Ops tempo doesn't allow for 7 or 8 hours a night either. Days at sea aren't scheduled into a 9 to 5 routine. You have to fit in work, meals, watches, unreps., drills, planning, and a host of other issues that come up on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Someone that stays on top of their game underway that manages more than 5 - 6 hours within a 24 hour period isn't on "top" of their game, they're trying to play catch up all the time. By the way, that often doesn't mean 5 - 6 hours in a 24 hour period all bunched together either.
 
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coachkarl

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Most folks have covered it, I think. Bottom line, it's all about time management. I'm not sure I agree with less sleep for upperclassmen, but I'm not there, so ...

And then there's this ...

From the perspective of an ex-fleet sailor, sleep deprivation isn't only an Academy issue. Shipboard Ops tempo doesn't allow for 7 or 8 hours a night either. Days at sea aren't scheduled into a 9 to 5 routine. You have to fit in work, meals, watches, unreps., drills, planning, and a host of other issues that come up on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Someone that stays on top of their game underway that manages more than 5 - 6 hours within a 24 hour period isn't on "top" of their game, they're trying to play catch up all the time. By the way, that often doesn't mean 5 - 6 hours in a 24 hour period all bunched together either.

There's a reason it's called N*ot College. Because the Mids are being prepared for leadership roles in the fleet, which is different than preparing for a traditional 9-to-5 job. BTCS/USN spells out the "why" pretty clearly.
 

Cerberi

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DD is a D1 athlete, maintains a 4.0, validated 8 classes so is essentially a sophomore academically, goes to bed every night at 10. Pays attention in class, is very disciplined about keeping up and studying during open slots throughout the day. Also does extremely well in ProKnow. She spends a lot of time tutoring fellow Plebes in Calculus and Chemistry (even though she validated them). For example, she has a paper due the third week of February, she spends some time each week working on it. She will have a draft done in 10 days and not be up all night the day before it is due. It's her calendar and she manages it. Surprisingly, she also has a very good time socializing with her classmates and goes out when they go off campus or to sporting events/concerts on the Yard.

Everyone has a different learning style, but if you never sleep in class, pay attention, and ask for help when needed - there is no need to not get 7-9 hours of sleep per day. I had plenty of classmates that slept in class and put everything off until the last minute so they were always sleep deprived.

It really is about time management and where someone focuses their energies. Everyone that goes is plenty smart enough to do well
 

Capt MJ

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We have watched several years of sponsor mids cycle through the house.

It is almost always time management, study efficiency, priorities and the ability to differentiate needs from wants - putting first things first. We have some who actually slept in their sheets, got plenty of sleep, handled heavy academics with labs, striper position, EC and varsity sport, who had enormous self-discipline and focus. There were those at the other end of the spectrum, who looked a bit zombie-ish around the eyes.

Many figured out, eventually, how to balance "want" activities such as social media, gaming and netflixing, with time and practice, against "need" activities.

There are times, though, as noted in a previous post, that optempo at sea or operational tours is such that a straight 8 in the rack is not possible. Developing proficiency in the ability to sleep anywhere, at anytime, in any position, as well as practicing the art of combat naps, LLD (Little Lie Down, Royal Australian Navy), JORP (Junior Officer Rest Period, there are SORP, FORP, GORP too), becomes a regular part of life.

Shore tours are not immune, though it's not until later in the career that crazy hours can occur. At my Pentagon job on OPNAV staff, I was usually at my desk at 0615. This was after working out at the Pentagon gym earlier. I went home, 45 minute commute, anytime after 2000, or 8 pm. Often later, depending on late meetings and taskers flowing downward from SECDEF, SECNAV or JCS. Saturdays were often working days, the sick joke being they were only "half-days," or 12 hours, on occasion. It's an odd D.C. thing about crazy hours. If you left "early," at 1800 (6), you felt guilty. I have long since recovered from that...
 

forumjunkie

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I fail to see the value of preparing yourself for no sleep, you are young and your body is growing now and needs lots of rest , to do so while you have the chance. I feel like if you start trying to deprive yourself of sleep now, you are hurting your growth curve. Get as much as you can now, and work more on those self discipline skills.

My son was a 10 hour a night plus naps sleeper, It was one of his greatest concerns. He made it, so you can too.
 

Milly

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Best sense of what I've heard from a variety of sources is that sleep deprivation is quite common at Navy and it is at its worst in the first couple of years. It does not seem to be purely or even primarily a result of poor time management. It's almost a little insulting to ascribe it largely to poor time management given that the vast majority of those attending this prestigious military academy have gotten into Navy precisely because of their stellar time management skills. For the most part, these young adults are driven, motivated, and organized. If you are a varsity athlete (as many are), the sleep deprivation will be worse, on average, than for those who are not.
 

forumjunkie

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Good point Milly, Maybe the better plan would be to practice sleeping sitting straight up. My Husbands side of the family seem to have the gift for that, Luckily my son inherited it. :)

Somewhere there is a cute thread about all the places plebes, and beasts etc sneak off to Nap. Like up in the drop tile ceilings.
 

Capt MJ

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We have watched several years of sponsor mids cycle through the house.

It is almost always time management, study efficiency, priorities and the ability to differentiate needs from wants - putting first things first. We have some who actually slept in their sheets, got plenty of sleep, handled heavy academics with labs, striper position, EC and varsity sport, who had enormous self-discipline and focus. There were those at the other end of the spectrum, who looked a bit zombie-ish around the eyes.

Many figured out, eventually, how to balance "want" activities such as social media, gaming and netflixing, with time and practice, against "need" activities.

There are times, though, as noted in a previous post, that optempo at sea or operational tours is such that a straight 8 in the rack is not possible. Developing proficiency in the ability to sleep anywhere, at anytime, in any position, as well as practicing the art of combat naps, LLD (Little Lie Down, Royal Australian Navy), JORP (Junior Officer Rest Period, there are SORP, FORP, GORP too), becomes a regular part of life.

Shore tours are not immune, though it's not until later in the career that crazy hours can occur. At my Pentagon job on OPNAV staff, I was usually at my desk at 0615. This was after working out at the Pentagon gym earlier. I went home, 45 minute commute, anytime after 2000, or 8 pm. Often later, depending on late meetings and taskers flowing downward from SECDEF, SECNAV or JCS. Saturdays were often working days, the sick joke being they were only "half-days," or 12 hours, on occasion. It's an odd D.C. thing about crazy hours. If you left "early," at 1800 (6), you felt guilty. I have long since recovered from that...

I should have been more precise - mids and cadets in general do have excellent time management skills honed in HS, with heavy demands on their time. Choosing to use those skills at an SA can fly out the window when away from home and facing new pressures in an unfamiliar environment.
 

forumjunkie

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One thing that always gets me is when my son would often call Sunday night "the off day" at about 8:30pm Eastern time. Because he was "Killing time", didn't feel like studying, and trying to stay awake for a 10pm on the side walk briefing for the next week. 10pm Briefing? on a Sunday? I am a morning person and that just blows my mind!
 

Sandydesert

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DS is a current plebe at USNA. He said on a "good" night, he can get about 6-7 hours of sleep. Those nights are rare. He usually gets about 5 hours per night, but there have been occasions when he has gotten only 2 hours-going to bed at 3:30 am and then having to wake up at 5:30 to get ready for his first classes of the day. Apparently USNA now allows plebes to nap on their beds on the weekends if they have no other responsibilities such as standing watch; that wasn't always the case at USNA from what I have heard.
 

ktnatalk

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Apparently USNA now allows plebes to nap on their beds on the weekends if they have no other responsibilities such as standing watch; that wasn't always the case at USNA from what I have heard.

True. Plebes this year also have media and headphone privileges that previously were not the case. You can hear the grumbling sound of the alumni a mile away! :D
 

EfusaurusRex

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True. Plebes this year also have media and headphone privileges that previously were not the case. You can hear the grumbling sound of the alumni a mile away! :D
Wait they have headphone privileges now?! :eek2: My NASS detailer told me he couldn't listen to music on his headphones as a Plebe because it was against some rule. I've been dreading not getting to occasionally listen to Metallica...until now:D
 
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