if people can’t go 3 days without sleep, how can Navy SEAL trainees do an entire Hell Week of strenuous physical activity with only 4 hours of sleep?

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if people can’t go 3 days without sleep, how can Navy SEAL trainees do an entire Hell Week of strenuous physical activity with only 4 hours of sleep?

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11 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

You can go that long without sleep, it’s just severely unhealthy. 

Hell Week is not intended as physical training. It has a lot of very stupid things in it if conditioning is the goal. It’s *supposed* to be intended as a mental torture test that most of the guys could in fact complete, but in practice has often gotten too physically difficult (and full of drugs). 

Anonymous 0 Comments

The average SEAL candidate is already in excellent physical and mental shape by the time they reach Hell Week, so while they are pushed to extreme limits during that time, they’re already used to handling the stress and fatigue. 

The average civilian would probably be fine staying awake for 3+ days, but considering their average fitness level and that most civilian work doesn’t produce as much adrenaline and a more focused sense of mission and teamwork, that person may suffer a bit more.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I did 3 days once in combat and was seeing things that weren’t there. It’s possible to do but your health breaks down quickly. Even 2-4 hours of sleep fixes it. We would dig in and sleep as often as we could.

Anonymous 0 Comments

People can definitely go longer than 3 days without sleep. Not sure how you think they can’t.

Then the biggest issue with staying awake is when you are talking about going multiple days without sleep is not moving for a few minutes. Hell Week has trainees constantly moving. Getting constantly wet. Instructors keeping people awake.

And even then Buds trainees are constantly falling asleep at the first opportunity they get in Hell Week. On their feet, sitting down eating, in port a johns.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The only real difference between special forces and regular units is the ability to handle prolonged stress without breaking down. Military forces have known for years that soldiers eventually break down after so many days of combat. What sets special forces apart is that they are at the far end of that spectrum and can last longer in prolonged combat.

Anonymous 0 Comments

People can go 3 days without sleep. The verified record is over 11 days, and it would probably be longer but anyone ethical doesn’t deal in records like that because it essentially encourages people to harm themselves.

The worst part isn’t so much the physical – that you can push through (EDIT: for five days, if you’re otherwise fit and healthy – eventually sleep deprivation will kill you and might kill you a lot sooner than you’re not fit and healthy) – it’s the mental. Hallucinations, that kind of things. Hell week is training to be able to deal with that in the field. If you’re in enemy territory, rest might not be an option.

No sleep vs an hour a day of naps is also a huge difference. Like, massive. It gives your brain a chance to do some self-care. It’s still brutal, but I can tell you from personal experience 48 hours without any sleep is hell on earth heading towards insanity while 48 hours with an hour’s rest in the middle is just rough.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Most people are hallucinating by the third night and the body also forces you to “microsleep” – pass out standing for a few seconds etc. Also seizures leading to a medical drop are common.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I got about 4 hrs of sleep a night on my first deployment. Lots of caffeine and having shit to do keeps you awake.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Not a SEAL and never ran in those circles but my understanding of Hell Week is that it’s looking for people that are extremely motivated and won’t give up, so they put them through 5.5 days of unrelenting physical exertion combined with a lack of sleep and the candidates are encouraged to quit constantly. The ones who are left at the end are the type of person they want.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In the past several years, Navy SEAL candidates were on an assortment of illegal drugs to boost their performance.  Maybe this year they’ve finally started to thoroughly screen against them.