Is Sleep Deprivation & Trauma-based Training Utilised in Royal Navy & Royal Marines Training?

Many people outside of the military have little understanding of the process of military training, especially basic training.

Sleep deprivation and trauma-based training is not employed as a tool for either the Royal Navy or the Royal Marines, as discussed below:

  • Royal Navy (RN) Initial Training:
    • Trainees, both officers and other ranks, may experience a lack of sleep at certain times as a by-product of the training regime.
    • This is due to exercises accommodating the reality of a lack of sleep that will be experienced by trainees on subsequent exercises or operations once trained.
    • At sea RN warships follow the normal ‘4 on 8 off’ watch pattern. However, on certain operations/exercises, RN personnel follow a ‘6 on 6 off’ watch pattern, with training/live evolution’s taking place during rest periods which may disrupt sleep.
    • During assessed Basic Leadership exercises and Maritime Leadership exercises, RN cadets will experience sleep disruption/reduced sleep as a by-product of the training regime.
  • Royal Marines (RM) Initial Training:
    • During RM recruits initial training and RM Young Officer training, sleep patterns are routinely disrupted due to sentry duty, tactical operations etc. just as they would in real operations.
    • One of the aims of RM initial training is to make training as realistic as possible, whilst still be safe.
    • As with RN training, a lack of sleep is a by-product of the training regime, and applies only to field training. In barracks sleep disruption is kept to a minimum so that trainees can be as alert as possible to facilitate the absorption of information during training.

No initial military training for either RN or RM recruits deliberately inflicts trauma.

Sleep deprivation in initial military training is not a tool but a means of ensuring military personnel experience the effects of lack of sleep (what it feels like and how to cope with it) which they will need to be able to endure when on exercise or operations throughout their careers.


FOI2016/11197 dated 05 December 2016.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.