So there are problems, civil disruptions and you have to stay up all night on guard duty. How do you stay awake? Staying awake has been a problem in the military and sometimes has resulted in the death of soldiers. If you spend any time in the military (at least in the infantry) you probably have experience in this area.
The military may have some luxuries you won’t enjoy; like enough people, to have two men at every post or to only pull short shifts. But chances are there are very few of you and you are pulling a long shift by yourself, so staying awake becomes a problem.
I still remember the first time I had to pull guard duty in the middle of the night and it was not in a combat zone. It was dark, lonely and boring. While only a three hour shift it seemed to drag on forever.
So what are the tricks to staying awake?
- Hopefully you have had a chance to sleep ahead of time, but let’s assume that you are sleep deprived and the threats are real.
- If you have lots of people double your guards and stagger their relief times – one will be fresher than the other and they will help keep each awake. Shorten the guard duty to 2-hour shifts.
- But you are short of people and pulling long shifts, so what are the tricks to staying awake
- Drink lots of liquid. Whether it is coke, coffee or just plain water, it all helps
- If you have MRE’s, chew on the contents of the instant coffee packs.
- Take the Tabasco sauce from the MRE’s and rub it under your eyes, this is good for a little while.
- If it is cold out take your jacket off, make yourself uncomfortable.
- People have resorted to placing small pebbles on the ground and then kneeling on them.
- Eat something
- Remember why you are there, being scared can help you stay awake.
- Think of your family and your responsibilities to them
- Whenever you get a chance to catch a few winks while not on duty do so, the less sleep deprived you are the better.
Try staying up one night and sit looking out the window with no TV or other distractions and you will soon understand just how boring it can get. Many of the problems of staying awake and alert, while on guard duty are in our heads. Make up your mind you can do it ahead of time.