View Full Version : How should I train to think while tired?

07-26-2015, 06:41
I am building my fitness in preparation to enlist on an 18x contract. A coach and former marine suggested that in addition to a physical workout regimen, I start preparing mentally as well, by trying to answer questions during the workout. I've seen similar exercises mentioned in descriptions of SEAL training (math questions while cold and shivering), so it seems like a good idea.

His example: Between sets he asked, "What is the cycle of operations of an M16A1 rifle?" "What is an O3 in the army?" "What is an E3 in the army?"
He suggested that I find a source for this sort of information and start studying it, and point him to it so that he will be able to quiz me on the information.

My questions are these:
-- Is this a good idea? This is information I should learn, but is it the sort of thing I should be using for this kind of mental training? If so where can I find a good source(s) to study, and what subjects should I include? Based on advice given in other threads, I assume I should include a substantial amount of military and SF history?
-- Is this a good way to go about training my mind to perform/adapt/solve problems while stressed and exhausted? If not, how would you suggest I do so?

07-26-2015, 08:50
Get married, have kids close together.

Old Dog New Trick
07-26-2015, 12:06
Get married, have kids close together.


Heck, I was only going to say spend a week or two getting only three - four hours of sleep or less each day and not always in a solid block and continue to function at your best.

But yeah, dealing with a screaming crying wife and bitching babies will result in the same level of sleeplessness. Don't forget to keep your daytime studies and fitness routine.

BTW I think the SEALs only do that to test for hypothermia. Most SEALs can't solve complex problems after a good nights rest.

Trapper John
07-27-2015, 10:33
I am not so sure this is a learned (therefore trainable) skill.

Being able to function at an acceptable level while under stress (hypothermia and/or sleep deprivation) is physiological and highly variable from individual to individual.

I don't know if any studies have been done to evaluate a single individual's variability over time with repeated stress situations, i.e train-ability of the physiological responses. It might be worth searching to see.

My guess is that this testing is primarily to weed out candidates that do not have the physiological make up to function under those conditions.

Your time would probably be better spent in other training where there are documented benefits of the training.

The Reaper
07-27-2015, 10:58
I concur.

You either have it, or you don't, and we tend to select people who do have it.


Old Dog New Trick
07-27-2015, 11:59
I concur.

You either have it, or you don't, and we tend to select people who do have it.


Me thinks the OP should google - neuropeptide Y - and at least read what's been said/studied about the affects of training and stress levels placed on SF (and SOF in general) personnel; and why the scientists 'think' we are cut from a different cloth than the rest of humanity.

I'm not saying that there is any correlation between training at a higher level and natural selection but, I do believe that the more experienced one becomes at performing under stress, the better ones' performance becomes under stress.

TJ brings up the point that you either have it or you don't, and this may be very true. I suppose one has to find out through trial and selection to see if they do or do not possess the "what it takes, mind over matter, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter" attitude to be SF.

Trapper John
07-27-2015, 12:22
The neuropeptide Y work makes my point. Ya just can't fight genetics. ;)

07-28-2015, 19:29
Understood. Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and advice.

I'll keep building physically and at some point I'll spend one to two weeks challenging myself to function well on intentionally very little sleep. In the mean time I'll try to make a habit of staying sharp when I'd normally be nodding off or losing focus.