Navy SEAL Sleep Deprivation Tips

Barely a week goes by without an athlete emailing asking “Coach, how the #@%& did you stay awake during two Hell Week beat downs in Navy SEAL training?

No sleep for a week? Isn’t that impossible?

How do Navy SEALs deal with sleep deprivation?

Check out these tips – but WARNING – don’t try this at home.

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Break it up into chunks. Never ever think about the end of the week. Only think about the task that you doing at that moment.

Check out this video showing a few of the evolutions at Navy SEAL BUD/S Hell Week and how tired these candidates are becoming.

Question: Are you allowed to take any supplements to BUDS with you and keep them in your locker?

Answer: The only supplement that is allowed to be used at BUDS are one a day multi-vitamins.

While I was at BUDS (almost 11 months) I used a multi vitamin and it helped give me an extra boost to recover my worn out muscles.

I still take a one a day vitamin today.


This is an easy one to help you get through the first night and not think as much that you are tired and want to lay down.

Smile. Your face has thousands of muscles and nerve endings that are wired into your brain. Just moving your lips upward stimulates your mind in a positive manner. Stimulation to the grey matter upstairs is one more method to stay awake in what can be an incredibly long week.

Question: What are those special trail running shoes that SEAL Team Six wore on the raid on Bin-Laden?

Answer: Those are the Vasque Men’s Juxt Multisport Shoe.

These shoes are a hybrid trail running shoe with more stability for moving in arduous terrain.

They are very lightweight and dry out quickly when submersed.

We like the aggressive tread and the ability to snug up the shoe with the lacing pattern and shoe material. It can snug up on your feet like a good climbing shoe.

TIP #8

Question: What is a good book on what to expect during BUDS training?

Answer: We like the book Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALs
It gives you a good idea of what to expect and how the training is set up.

Yes; BUDS is extremely hard training… so stop fooling yourself.

Read this book and then start implementing some of the tips and good advise this book has.

Check out this video showing the first 48 hours of Navy SEAL BUD/S Training Hell Week and how it can take a toll on your body and mind.

At the 48 hour mark I was starting to forget small details so I really had to tighten down and focus.

Question: What socks are issued in BUDS training?

Answer: They are issued the Vermont Darn Tough Merino Boot Socks.

If you do happen to wear these socks out (which will be really hard), you just mail back the sock to Darn Tough headquarters in Vermont and they will send you a free pair at no cost.

I personally have two pairs that I wear all of the time for hiking and trail running.

Tip #7
This is one of the first things that I learned from the other trainees that helped me stay up on our first late night training event.

TIP #6
Once I knew this tip I was good to go.

My swim buddy told me to do it and of course I did and it worked really good.
You hug your buddy “nut to butt” in the cold Pacific ocean. So what difference does it make if you give him a massage? Standing in line at the pool or on the beach you reach up and give his traps and shoulders a massage. A few light karate chops on the neck are nice too.->

Question: Are the opening scenes in movie Lone Survivor accurate? Is BUDS training really that harsh?

Yes; but read the book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 first as it is really good.

More than once we saw guys in our training class unfortunately get hurt. It is a dangerous occupation.

Navy SEAL Kirk Parsley – How Sleep affects Performance

Tip #5

Check out the Rest of the SGPT Exlusive Article + Tips HERE:

Question: What are those green floppy hats that the Team Guys were in the movies and photos?

Answer: That is just a Jungle Boonie floppy hat that is really comfortable to wear and keep the sun out of your eyes and light rain off your head.

I was issued one back in the day for jungle training and still have it in my closet today.

No one told me this tip at BUDS. I learned it on my own the hard way. Piss Your Pants. Save it up and relieve yourself when your cold or dosing off. When you are shivering your balls off a warm dose of urine can go a long way.

None of your buddies care. The instructors definitely don’t care. Your past caring so you get into survival mode and pissing your pants is straight up the right thing to do.

You will smile as you give no f@cks. You heard it hear.

Question: What kind of boots do the guys wear at BUDS? I want to get a set so I can start training in the gear they use.

BUDS candidates use the Bates 922 boots.

These are all around good lightweight boots that drain well when you get them soaked in water. You can’t go wrong in dollar value with these boots.

Check out this video of BUDS Class 234 as they show some of the tough training and most of these guys are going to bed at 10 pm and waking up at 4 am to start the next day.
I remember standing on the side of that pool during winter months and felt like I was freezing my butt off.

If the wind picked up a little bit it could be a long afternoon in and out of the pool.

TIP #4
I still use this tip today and have shared it with a few friends on endurance races.
Check out the Rest of the SGPT Exlusive Article + Tips HERE:

Question: What is your favorite military book?

Answer: I love the book “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 and have given a copy to my son and other trainees I have coached.

Even if you are not in the military it is a great story.

My mom has read this book and recommended it to all of her friends.

TIP #3
This tip is easy to implement and will get you feeling better and forgetting about sleep in no time.
Check out the Rest of the SGPT Exlusive Article + Tips HERE:

Question: What is a good mask to use for training in a pool?

Answer: We like the Cressi F1 Frameless Dive Mask, Brown as it is easy on the wallet and is fine for pool training.

A drill we like to train our guys with is to throw numerous items into the pool and have them see how many breaths it takes to pick them all up and get them to the surface and side of the pool.

It can be harder than you think depending on what some of the items area (try a small sofa cushion and it gets fully soaked).

TIP #2
I actually learned this tip in boot camp during night duty and having to walk the edge of the barracks.

I almost messed up by sitting down but caught myself before I nodded off.
Check out the Rest of the SGPT Exlusive Article + Tips HERE:

Question: What kind of knife did they issue you in BUDS?

Answer: We were issued the MK 3 Mod O US Navy Dive Knife which is a sturdy all around dive knife.

The tip of the knife is super pointy and sharp.

You can use the handle to hammer on a nail or whatever. If you needed to build a survival shelter it could do that.

Even after all these years they are still using the dive knife for day to day training and operations.

TIP #1
By far this is the number one tip.
If you don’t do this you could get really tired and hurt someone in training.A favorite saying by our lead Instructor (Class Proctor) was..”If you don’t mind then it don’t matter.” Pretty simple but not easy. If you don’t think about sleep and just want to push forward then you will see that sleep is not needed. Serious.

Check out these tips from our readers and athletes at the gym.

Question: “Coach, what is the craziest place you had to sleep while you were in the Teams?”.

I once threw out a mat and slept between two torpedoes.

Question: “Coach, I heard that in BUDS you get so tired your falling asleep standing up?”. Yes; it is weird to catch your self falling forward and coming out of a sleep.

Question: “Coach, I am having trouble sleeping at night, what do you do?”.

I try to work out hard to fatigue the body. I read before bed and not watch the evening news.

Occasionally I use a small dropper of Melatonin liquid to aid in good sleep.

This stuff will do the trick but you will not feel groggy in the morning.

Question: “Coach, how much sleep did you get in BUDS?”.

Answer: I got about 5 hours a night – maybe 6 hours.

Question: How much sleep did you get in Hell Week? I fell asleep a few times. Maybe 15 minutes here or there. But it was all a blur so not sure.

Question: Do Navy SEALs use anything to help them sleep in rough conditions? If you have access to it – some take. Working out hard will definitely help you sleep better.

Question: how much do navy you sleep during a mission? Not very much if at all. Depends on the mission as sometimes you can sleep in transit on a chopper or boat ride.

Question: “How come they make trainees stay awake for 5 and half days in Hell Week?”

The BUDS trainees stay awake for five plus days in Hell Week to make sure they can do it in a war zone. SEAL operators and war veterans often have had to stay awake for 72 hours on and 12 hours of shifts. When a battle breaks out you have no choice but to stay awake and get the job done.

Question: What is the average sleep do you get on missions?

Answer: Very little to no sleep on missions.


Brad McLeod is married with two kids and an all around average family guy.

He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and despite training all the wrong ways – made it to Navy SEAL training in Coronado, California.

He flunked out of Navy SEAL BUD/S training after making it over half way through (6 months of grueling training). After a year in the Fleet Navy on the USS Cleveland (LPD-7) he came back to graduate BUDS and serve on SEAL Team Four.

His story is simple–Don’t Ever Quit on your Dream! Put one foot in front of the other and fall forward.

Proceeds from this website go to help raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation.

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