Did you stay up too late watching television again? Drink one too many alcoholic drinks during a night out with friends? While these events might seem harmless, they can become an issue if they start to happen daily or regularly. Alcohol use not only comes with its own health risks, but also negatively affects your sleep quality and the amount you sleep. Excessive drinking and sleeplessness can also have long-term effects on your personal relationships, job performance, and physical and mental health.
Whether training in the field, deployed abroad or at home, sleep plays an important role in your physical and psychological health. Getting 7-8 hours of rest per day is recommended, but it can be difficult to maintain on a busy schedule. Maximizing your sleep can improve your mood, reduce mental fog and decrease your risk of many chronic health conditions, like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Sometimes, an invisible wound, your military duties or even the stress of home life can make it hard to get enough good-quality sleep. Because sleep is so important to your health and performance, it is critical that you build good sleep habits and talk to a health care provider if you are struggling to rest. Reaching out for help keeps you mission ready and there for the people who count on you most.
Reaching out for care for your psychological health is an important, positive step in your military career. When seeking a role that requires a national security clearance, you will be instructed to fill out the Standard Form 86 (SF86), “Questionnaire for National Security Positions.” [PDF 6.9MB] The federal government uses information from this form to conduct background checks and evaluate individuals who are:
The demands of military life often get in the way of a full night’s sleep. Service members should get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but most get less. On deployment, service members average just six and a half hours per 24-hour period. This can be a threat to mission readiness.