Anecdotal accounts indicate that Basic Combat Training (BCT) is associated with significant sleep impairment, which conceivably could impact health, attrition, and training. However, there has been little empirical investigation of sleep during BCT. The aim of this study was to obtain a qualitative assessment of soldiers' perceptions about their sleep and consequences of sleep disruption during BCT. During November/December of 2010, focus group discussions were conducted with soldiers, ages ≥ 18 years, who had completed at least 4 weeks of BCT at Fort Jackson, SC. The soldiers were assessed in 45 to 60 min sessions involving three groups of female soldiers (total n = 28) and three groups of male soldiers (total n = 38). Soldiers reported reductions in their sleep duration and quality, which were attributed to many factors, particularly noise, nighttime work detail, stress, and hunger. These sleep changes had many perceived negative effects on performance, mood, and other components of BCT. These effects were more evident in soldiers of lower physical fitness. This study suggests associations between sleep and BCT outcomes. Whether these associations warrant changes in the sleep environment of BCT will require much further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health