Sleep can be hard to come by in the service. One of the very first things you learn when you enlist is that you should take any and every napping opportunity possible, despite the location. As thousands of National Guard members filter through the halls of the U.S. Capitol, civilians are getting firsthand looks at just how easily soldiers can turn a concrete floor into a comfortable nest.
If dozing off in uncomfortable places and positions were an Olympic sport, service members take home gold every time. That’s why we decided to pull together a definitive ranking of some the best, worst, and downright ridiculous sleeping positions in recent military history, on scale from 1 to 10, in terms of insanity.
6.5/10. He looks seriously cozy with his rucksack for a pillow, sunglasses to block the light, and no weapon in sight. This specialist proves that even a dusty desert truck bed is still a bed. And even though are no stars in the sky, at least there’s one on the vehicle.
6/10. It’s always better to cuddle and huddle for warmth. This is yet another instance that proves truck beds are almost as good as real beds. Please note the various forms possible when sleeping in an upright position. We’d wager the soldier on the right is going to need a neck brace by the time he wakes up from his nap. Still, it’s not the most unconvential sleeping position we’ve seen.
7/10. These paratroopers’ nap line is almost as uniform as it would be if they were conscious and standing in formation. Note the classic near-fetal position they’ve all adopted on the floor and smart utilization of the shadow under the bench to block out the light. That’s some real Army ingenuity.
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4/10. Soaking wet is no way to nap. We can’t imagine that this guy’s covering is doing much except preventing him from inhaling rainwater as he tries to get in a few zzzs. Still, props for trying. At least in the rain, no one can see you cry yourself to sleep.
9/10. This Marine is party up top and business down below. Though his torso is asleep, his feet remain plastered to the floor. He’s ready to spring to action at a moment’s notice. This sleeping position looks like a nightmare, but we hope he’s having sweet dreams.
7/10. Now this is interesting. He’s using his ruck as a foot stool and his kneepads as a pillow. Why? We’ll probably never know. It looks pretty terrible though.
8/10. These paratroopers have found some fairly cozy chairs to curl up in as they wait for morning. We gift them high marks for their proximity to Pringles, as well. There’s nothing like a tasty midnight snack before waking up at the crack of dawn to jump out of a plane.
8/10. Overall a solid sleeping position, this soldier is pressed up against a pile of gear for support. What’s perplexing, though, is the choice to sit on his right leg. We’d wager that when he wakes up, his leg will be fast asleep, and when he tries to stand, his knee is going radiate pain like static through your TV when the cable cuts out. Big yikes.
10/10. This sleep position is everything. Our Marine here has a rucksack pillow and rifle tucked between his knees with the barrel pointed directly at his face. And we can’t imagine those cold metal bleachers make for a comfy place to lie down. Ah well. Goodnight, sweet prince.
About Sarah Sicard
Sarah Sicard is the Digital Editor of Military Times. She previously served as Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, Defense News, Fast Company, Business Insider and AdWeek.