A new Army field manual says it's OK for soldiers to take afternoon naps to make up for sleep deficits during training. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army
Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The Army released a new field manual Thursday that officially embraces midday naps to help improve performance.
The new guide focuses on individual wellness rather than the health of whole units, and it updates the branch's health and fitness recommendations for the first time since 2012.
In addition to encouraging afternoon napping, the Army plans to shift its hourlong early-morning training sessions to fitness training regimens tailored to individuals.
"This will require physical training to occur throughout the duty day, not just during a one-hour period in the early morning," said Megan Reed, a spokeswoman for the Center for Initial Military Training at Fort Eustis, Va., which spearheaded the service's health reform efforts outlined in the new field manual.
The new manual also has chapters on setting goals, visualizing success and "spiritual readiness."
"We've made leaps and strides, by not looking at soldiers as carbon copies of one another, but as individuals. That's the point of Health and Holistic Fitness," said Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, the commander of the CIMT.
The decision to overhaul the Army's approach to wellness was driven by reports of injuries and other health issues that have placed a drag on soldiers' performance.
According to Army statistics, more than 58,000 soldiers -- the equivalent of 13 brigade teams -- were considered nondeployable, with 15,000 of those being considered permanently nondeployable.
In 2018, more than half of American soldiers reported a new injury, and Army medical documents said 71% of soldiers hurt that year were diagnosed with preventable medical injuries caused by overuse.