The Army Rolls Out a New Weapon: Strategic Napping, New York Times, 1 October 2020
On Wednesday, the Army released new guidelines for optimal soldier performance — and they include strategic and aggressive napping.
The recommendation is part of an overhaul of the Army’s physical fitness training field manual, which was rebranded this week as the FM 7-22 Holistic Health and Fitness manual. No longer is the guide focused entirely on grueling physical challenges like long ruck marches and pull-ups. Now it has chapters on setting goals, visualizing success, “spiritual readiness” and, yes, the art of the nap.
“Soldiers can use short, infrequent naps to restore wakefulness and promote performance,” the new manual advises. “When routinely available sleep time is difficult to predict, soldiers might take the longest nap possible as frequently as time is available.”
It is the first update to the manual in eight years, and it reflects growing scientific evidence that peak physical performance includes more than just physical training.
The manual also has updates on running techniques to avoid injury, and a section on the importance of spirituality, with entries on meditation, journaling and how the “act of serving others” helps some soldiers realize the “interconnectedness of all things and people.”
“The Army has always had an internal dynamic that real men don’t need sleep and can just push on, and it’s incredibly stupid,” said Lt. Gen. David Barno, who was commander of combined forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005.
If it’s good enough for the Army…