Basic Training: Waking Up and Going to Sleep

Basic trainees normally get good night's sleep.
New recruits generally have no problem falling to sleep during basic training. (Mike McMeekin/South Dakota National Guard)

Getting That Morning Wake-Up Call

In military basic training, there's no such thing as sleeping in. You'll get up at 5 a.m. every single day.

Waking up in the morning is an adjustment process that's the same for every single basic training class. When you first arrive, the drill instructors require a lot of noise, yelling and jostling to get everyone out of the rack. Then, sometime around week 4, all it takes is for the drill instructor to enter the room in the early morning and quietly say, "Get up," and everyone pops out of their bunks immediately and begins their morning routine. It's an amazing adjustment.

Hitting the Sack: Lights Out

In all the branches' basic training programs, bedtime is usually 2100, or 9 p.m., except during times of special events, such as night exercises. In basic training, lights out means go to sleep. It does not mean talk to your buddies, study or write a letter home. However, these kinds of distractions generally aren't a problem. In basic training, you'll be so tired all the time that falling asleep at night shouldn't be an issue. What is more difficult is trying to keep from falling asleep during class time.

At the very beginning of basic training, the chief drill instructor will spend the night with you in the barracks. As you progress in training, the drill instructor likely will go home each night. However, the basic training staff is constantly monitoring the barracks using closed circuit cameras. If you're not quietly in your bunks, you can expect a surprise nighttime visit from your drill instructor.

Warning: Depending on which branch you're in, you may even have three or four DIs assigned to your platoon, and each a night a certain DI will stay in the barracks with the platoon. You are never without supervision.

From Basic Training for Dummies, copyright © 2011 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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