Army base's policy to let soldiers sleep in benefits their health, report finds

United States Army rangers during the military operation in the smoke and fire

United States Army rangers during the military operation in the smoke and fire

A U.S. Army base’s physical training program that snarled traffic in the area but allowed soldiers to sleep in before beginning work is being praised by officials in a report on the force’s fitness. According to the Denver Post, Fort Carson’s policy to allow soldiers to begin work later and exercise in the afternoon during a 2014 pilot program was one of several factors that made it stand out in the Health of Force report.

“The people of Colorado Springs don’t like their traffic patterns changed, but it did make a big difference for soldiers and their families,” Col. Deydre Teyhen, assistant chief of staff for the Army Medical Specialists Corps., told the Denver Post.

The report on the army’s largest installations found Fort Carson soldiers to be above average in their medical readiness for combat, and felled by fewer injuries than their peers with a lower rate of mental illness and chronic disease. Fort Carson soldiers also had a lower obesity rate than others, The Denver Post reported.

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Health officials also credited the 2014 change in exercise schedule from before dawn to after service day’s end as helping to counter the Army’s sleep deprivation issues. However, the change in schedule meant 20,000 soldiers were out on the road during rush hour, and was nixed due to resident complaints of massive traffic jams.

“We are sleeping much worse than the average American,” Teyhen told the Denver Post, adding that while the experiment helped all soldiers, younger soldiers saw the most benefits.  The positive feedback in the health report could help bring the program back, the Denver Post reported.