Tag Archives: training

How to Properly Set Up and Wear a Combat Tourniquet

Disclaimer:  These are only suggestions or proper set up and wear of the combat tourniquet.  All personnel using a tourniquet should consult their medic, doctor, healthcare provider and tourniquet manufacturer on the proper wear, setup and use of the tourniquet prior to use. After seeing countless soldiers walking around in combat zones, improperly wearing their tourniquets, we thought we would put together a quick guide to getting your kit set up properly.  Soldiers are often handed tourniquets and given no instruction on its proper wear or use and then take that piece of kit into combat under the notion that they will figure it out when the time comes.  Unfortunately, the tourniquet, like any other piece of life saving equipment  is something that you have to pragmatically approach in setup and use.  This is especially important when you consider that an arterial bleed can cause someone to lose consciousness in 15 seconds and completely bleed out in 30-45 seconds.

If operators are not actively practicing the use of applying the tourniquet from their kit then they should consider making it a part of their training plan.  Below is a simple guide on how to properly setup and place a combat tourniquet on your gear.   Step 1- The Setup The setup of your tourniquet is crucial in ensuring it can be quickly placed onto the injured limb.  Under no circumstances should soldiers be walking around theater with the plastic wrap still covering their tourniquets or if they haven’t properly set up the tourniquet for immediate use. Inspection: When you are first issued a tourniquet you should inspect its components for cracks, tears or deformities.  This is especially important for users living in dry, hot, desert environments that cause the plastics to break easily. Preparation:  After inspecting the tourniquet you should prepare it for immediate deployment.  The idea behind the set up is to make the tourniquet so that it can be used with one hand in the event that it needs to be applied to one of your arms.

To prepare the tourniquet for employment first weave the tourniquet strap through ONE loop on the attached buckle.  This will allow you to cinch the tourniquet down using one hand.  If you weave through both buckles you will not be able to cinch the tourniquet down as quickly.  Once the tourniquet is cinched down and the velcro has been adhered to itself there will be enough friction to keep it from moving. If you are using the RATS Tourniquet you can create your cinch loop prior to storage as well for even quicker application.

Sizing: Size the tourniquet so that it is open/wide enough to fit over your largest extremity (usually your leg) as well as fit over any equipment you might have on such as a drop leg holster or boots.  The tail end should be very short since it will be adhered to the velcro on the tourniquet, if this tail is too long and adhered to too much velcro you will not be able to grab it and cinch it down using one hand.

Take the tail end of the tourniquet and fold it over on itself, creating a small tab for you to grab.  This is important given that if you are using the tourniquet, your dexterity will be limited due to gloves, blood or dirt.

Finally “S” roll the tourniquet onto itself so that it will open when pulled from your kit.

Step 2 – Placement: Placing the tourniquet on your kit is as equally as important in ensuring you can employ it in a timely manner.  Many soldiers downrange place their tourniquets in their top right or top left cargo pocket of their duty uniform; this should be avoided considering that if the opposite arm in which the tourniquet is being carried becomes injured it would not be able to reach up and grab the tourniquet from the pocket.  All tourniquets should be placed where both hands can easily reach them and release with minimal effort! One of the most important things when considering placement of the tourniquet is ease of employment.  Rubber bands, tourniquet holders and even hair ties are great ways of keeping your tourniquet on your kit while still being able to rip it off when needed.  Note: If using rubber bands or hair ties to keep your tourniquet on your kit always ensure you replace them every few days.  Rubber bands will easily break, especially when left out in the elements. A few common places for your tourniquet include: the middle of your plate carrier, behind your back centered on your belt, lower left or right pant leg cargo pocket, buttstock of a rifle, inside a vehicle door handle and on the outside of the aid bag.  I personally keep two tourniquets on me at all time, one on my tourniquet holder located behind my back on my belt and the second in my lower cargo pocket pants leg.  The reason I keep these in the said locations is to ensure that one, I have a tourniquet on my persons at all time and two, I have more than one tourniquet on me at all times in the event that I need to apply it to two extremities or to another casualty. Placing the tourniquet on your body armor:

Placing the tourniquet on your belt (best option for low vis operations)

Placement on rifle:

Placement in pocket:Important considerations: When operating in a semi or non-permissive environment you should have a tourniquet on you at all times.  In many cases personnel operating overseas will gucci their kit with several tourniquets, non of which are carried on their first line of equipment.  This causes personnel to walk around base with no ability to stop massive bleeders and leaves them vulnerable when IDF or Green on Blue attacks occur.  Remember, just because the mission stopped doesn’t mean the war stopped, be ready to perform first aid at all times. In short, when you need to use your tourniquet you have the rest of your life to figure out if you set it up properly or not.  To ensure a quick application operators should always practice taking their tourniquet from their kit and applying it to their different extremities in 15 seconds or less.  We try to incorporate the placement of tourniquets into our stress shoots and combat scenarios to ensure each operator has the proper set up. We have numerous options available on our website that will allow you to quickly access your tourniquet in a life or death situation.

Learn more at tacticalequipment.com

Here’s What A Training Weekend Looks Like with the Virginia Defense Force

The VDF shoulder insignia. Photo credit JKC.
The VDF shoulder insignia. Photo credit JKC.

Some of you may remember a previous article I wrote on citizens, the police reserves, and state guards.  Well, I had a chance today to observe some training that the local unit of the Virginia Defense Force was conducting, as well as talk to the Commander of First Regiment, Major Richard Rheinsmith.

First, a little about the mission of the VDF from their website:

“The Virginia Defense Force (VDF) is an all-volunteer, formal military organization. Its mission is to assist the Virginia National Guard in performing state missions as specified by the Governor.

The VDF is the state’s only military force that is independent of federal control. With units located throughout the state, at the direction of the Department of Military Affairs, the VDF can move into a stricken area quickly, interact with and assist local authorities and restore community integrity as soon as possible. Working during blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other disasters, the VDF volunteers are familiar faces working in nearby towns and cities bringing aid and comfort to their neighbors.”

And from the Code of Virginia:

“The Virginia Defense Force with a targeted membership of at least 1,200 shall be organized within and subject to the control of the Department of Military Affairs.

When called to state active duty, the mission of the Virginia Defense Force shall be to (i) provide for an adequately trained organized reserve militia to assume control of Virginia National Guard facilities and to secure any federal and state property left in place in the event of the mobilization of the Virginia National Guard, (ii) assist in the mobilization of the Virginia National Guard, (iii) support the Virginia National Guard in providing family assistance to military dependents within the Commonwealth in the event of the mobilization of the Virginia National Guard, and (iv) provide a military force to respond to the call of the Governor in those circumstances described in § 44-75.1.”

And a little about their history:

Virginia State Volunteers / Virginia Volunteers: 1917-1921

In response to the 1917 federalization of the Virginia National Guard, the Commonwealth of Virginia created the Virginia State Volunteers to support civil authorities. Soon renamed the Virginia Volunteers, the group guarded bridges, waterways, fuel storage areas, and public buildings and facilities during the war years, armed with surplus weapons dating back to 1876. With the return of the National Guard units after World War I, the last company of the Virginia Volunteers was deactivated in 1921. A total of 1,300 Virginians served in the Virginia Volunteers from 1917 to 1921.

Virginia Protective Force / Virginia State Guard: 1941-1947

Following the 1940 Nazi defeat of the French army, Virginia Governor Price created the Virginia Defense Council to plan for the possibility that the Virginia National Guard could be federalized once again. Based on the recommendation of the council, Governor Price ordered the establishment of the Virginia Protective Force on January 2, 1941. Provided surplus M-1917 Enfield rifles and blue-grey wool uniforms made in the state’s penitentiaries, the Virginia Protective Force assumed the in-state missions of the Virginia National Guard when it was called to federal service. In 1944 the General Assembly changed the name of the Virginia Protective Force to the Virginia State Guard. With the return of the Virginia National Guard from overseas service, the Commonwealth deactivated the Virginia State Guard in June 1947. A total of 16,885 Virginians served in the Virginia Protective Force and Virginia State Guard from 1941 to 1947.

Virginia State Guard / Virginia Defense Force: 1985-Present

The Total Force policies of the Department of Defense prompted changes to federal law in the mid-1980s, allowing states to establish military forces designated to assume the missions of their state National Guards in the event they were called to federal service. With planning dating back to 1981, the Commonwealth created the first units of the new Virginia State Guard in 1985 with same mission as its predecessors: support of civil authority. In 1989 the General Assembly renamed the Virginia State Guard the Virginia Defense Force. The Virginia Defense Force currently has more than 1000 men and women serving their communities throughout the Commonwealth.

The training I got to observe this weekend was crowd control and entry control points, conducted in conjunction with a

Practicing shield work. Photo credit JKC.
Practicing shield work. Photo credit JKC.

local National Guard unit.  I know the stereotype of State Guard members is typically less than favorable, but I was impressed with how seriously the volunteers were taking the training.  There were a wide variety of ages represented, from teens to retired adults.  There were also a variety of experiences, from untrained to retired military to civilian professionals and first responders.  All were engaged and willing.  The first training day encompassed classroom and practical, including expandable baton, takedowns, empty hand control, and a use of force brief from the Judge Advocate.  The second day covered ECP and vehicle searches, then riot control with the shield and baton.

While this particular drill weekend was focused on a security/law enforcement mission, it certainly isn’t the only mission the VDF undertakes.  During the weekend the 1st Regiment also supported a multi-state communications exercise using High Frequency Radios called TAC-PAK’s – a multi-user “Briefcase Command Center”.  These lightweight, battery-powered, man-portable communication platforms (with full wireless communications functionality) are integrated into small suitcases and attached to Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT’s).   This is what the VDF uses when they provide communications support for disasters and other emergent events along with their other assistance to planned events (such as manning aid booths and parking).

Conducting radio inventory. Photo credit JKC.
Conducting radio inventory. Photo credit JKC.

Elements of the VDF are training in wilderness search and rescue, and there is a new cyber unit that will be assisting with major planned events within the next year.

To tie this in to the previous article: the VDF is all-volunteer, and they only get paid when they are called to state active duty, so their drills and associated expenses (gas, gear, food, etc.) are all out of pocket.  They perform a service to the state by augmenting local and state agencies, as well as the National Guard during planned and emergent events, and they do it because they want to.  To me, this is a positive example of the kind of citizen engagement that our country really needs today.  As MAJ Rheinsmith said, “Our volunteer members bring to the table their individually developed skill set.  Through collaboration, cohesion and common goals we provide capabilities to the commonwealth in times of need.  Come join us; you won’t know if you like it until you try!”

Baton takedowns. Photo credit JKC.
Baton takedowns. Photo credit JKC.

If this article interests you, and you don’t mind some long hours for no pay, you can contact the VDF through their website or on their Facebook page.  Even if you have no military experience, I know they’d be happy to hear from you.  From what I’ve seen, it’s a group of guys and gals who are just looking to do their part for their state and are willing to put their time and money where their mouths are.  I just wish half the Internet’s keyboard warriors would do the same.

About the author

Joel is a 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.



Introducing the Essential Shooting Guide

 

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After almost a year of work, we are excited to announce the release of our new Essential Shooting Guide. This 91-page book is specifically designed to use in conjunction with our Essentials Target. Together, they will enhance your shooting skills as well as make the most out of your range time.

The Essentials Shooting Guide starts out with the user shooting our 150 round, 17 course of fire Essential Drill listed in Chapter 1 on page 7.

This drill is designed to test all of the major aspects of shooting including draws, reloads, marksmanship, trigger speeds, and target transitions.  Following the drill, you will see where you need to improve and offers exercises to enhance your skills.

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Each drill also has a section where you can record your results and track your improvement.  The books are printed in the USA and measure 4 x 6″ to allow for easy carry to and from the range.

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To purchase, the book go to https://www.refactortactical.com/shop/the-essential-shooting-guide/

Here’s The Proper Way to Fly with Checked Firearms

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I recently had my first experience flying with checked firearms, and I thought I’d share what I learned for those who may be starting to travel with their guns for business or pleasure.  First, let’s start with what the TSA says:

“You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.”  (TSA website)

Now, each airline has slightly different methods of how they execute the TSA policy, so definitely check up on the individual airlines.  Here is Delta, Southwest, American, and United.  Firearms are usually lumped into “Sports Equipment,” so you may have to scroll down to find it.  I flew American Airlines out of Norfolk, which is a huge military town that probably sees guns constantly flying, so my experience was quite comfortable.

Photo Jun 13, 19 53 57I packed my pistols inside a Stack-On metal gun safe.  Technically it was probably a lot of overkill, but I also wanted a safe to keep the weapons in my hotel room once I arrive in New Hampshire.  The standard is simply a locked, hard-sided case.  I would recommend using a case that can accept a massive lock, not just a TSA lock, mostly because TSA locks are flimsy and specifically designed to be opened by a readily available master key.  Upon arriving at the ticket counter, I declared my firearms to the ticket agent, who asked me a few questions regarding whether the guns were unloaded, whether I had any ammunition, and whether the ammunition was packed or loose.  In this case, I wasn’t flying with ammunition, as the course was providing it, but if you are, please keep in mind that ammunition cannot be loose in your luggage (they prefer original packaging), and there may be limits on how much ammunition you can carry.

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Photo Jun 13, 19 39 04I had to sign a statement that my firearms were unloaded, then take my bags to the TSA screening point.  I declared my firearms to the screener and waited while they ran my bags through the scanner.  Once they gave me the thumbs up, I headed to my plane.  Honestly, the process itself was pretty simple.  The most stressful part of checking in was the insane overweight baggage fees (note to self, bring two bags next time).  I’ve heard stories of people having their tickets marked with codes denoting firearms, but after examining my tickets, the only unique code I see is the TSA Pre-Check (sign up for it if you haven’t), so I can’t find any evidence of that.  What I did get, however, was a big red “Special Handling” tag.  According to American, that tag denotes an item of value or particular fragility.  The intention is to keep baggage handlers from putting the bag on the carousel, requiring you to go to the baggage office to show identification for pick-up.  So while it doesn’t expressly identify a gun, it does tell everyone in the bPhoto Jun 13, 19 39 20ack room there’s good stuff in there.  There was a theft ring in Norfolk International Airport a few years back that specifically targeted red-tagged items, so to me, it is a bit of a concern.  They also didn’t tell me that I would have to pick it up at the baggage office, so I wasted time at the carousel before heading to the office after the carousel stopped.

Hope this was useful.  Don’t let worries about flying with your guns keep you from attending that course, going on that hunt, or even just taking your carry gun with you when you travel (providing it’s legal where you are going).  As with anything, have a plan, especially for extra check-in time, and know the rules.  Good luck and safe flying!

About the author

Joel is a 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served in various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

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There Is A New Army Training Circular And It’s Awesome As Hell

For anyone who doesn’t anxiously await the release of new Army publications, there is a new Training Circular out – TC 3-22.9 Rifle and Carbine.  I may be a little late to the game, as it was released a week ago, but here are a few of the highlights of this TC, which replaces Field Manual 3-22.9, Rifle Marksmanship, M16-/M4-Series Weapons.
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First off, the information has been updated.  A lot.  And it seems to be genuinely aimed at helping soldiers learn to fight with their rifles, not run a flat range qualification.  The illustrations are better (someone finally figured out you can illustrate with a computer, not just hand drawings), and the information is presented in a much more readable format (lots of tables and figures for those of us who can’t just read a bulleted paragraph and learn), especially in the sections on leads, environmental conditions, and range estimation.
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Second, the Army has finally started to catch up to modern “tactical” shooting.

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Ever been told that putting your magazine on the ground will cause your gun to jam?  The Army officially says that’s not true.

workspace
Workspace is no longer just referring to the place where the lieutenants get stuffed into cubicles.

high ready
There is actually a ready position that doesn’t require your muzzle be pointed at the ground (although the verbiage still passive aggressively discourages it, at least they discuss the validity).

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The malfunction correction flow chart will undoubtedly give memers something to laugh about for days, although it’s actually a lot more functional than anything the FM had (but the Army still won’t teach you how to “mortar” because you might hurt yourself and break your gun).

walking
The “duck-walk” is no longer cool.

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You might actually have to fire from a prone position other than the one from qualifications.

trigger finger
Oh, and you don’t have to perfectly place your trigger finger anymore.

Now, is this new TC perfect?  Of course not.  I can state from experience that by the time you manage to capture tactics in a document (especially within a bureaucracy), they are no longer the latest and greatest.  There are a few things that they don’t cover that I would have liked to see, like magazine changes.  But, considering that this is the first MAJOR revision to marksmanship since 2008, it represents a lot of hard work from the subject matter experts in the field to catch Big Army up to more relevant marksmanship tactics.  If you haven’t read it, hit it up here.  Take it to the bathroom with you the next time your significant other gripes that you don’t do anything in there and claim professional development.  Don’t really care how you read it, but at least give it a look.  Enjoy!

About the author

Joel is an 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

Here’s A Few Pistol Drills That Can Be Done On The RE Factor IQ Target

IMG_9256Here’s a few pistol drills that can be done on the RE Factor IQ target. Some of these drills have par times, others are a “beat yourself” drill – establish a par time at your shooting level, then push yourself to constantly decrease your par time while maintaining accuracy.  Also keep in mind that even though the square, circle, and triangle all technically measure 3″, the square offers the most “shootable area,” followed by the circle, then the triangle.

Dot Torture (credited to David Blinder):

Drill: Shooter will begin holstered at the 3 yard line. You will use 10 dots.  There is no time limit, this is a marksmanship fundamentals drill.  The strings are shot as follows:

Dot 1 – Draw and fire one string of 5 rounds for best group. One hole if possible, total 5 rounds.
Dot 2 – Draw and fire 1 shot, holster and repeat X4, total 5 rounds.
Dots 3 & 4 – Draw and fire 1 shot on #3, then 1 shot on #4, holster and repeat X3, total 8 rounds.
Dot 5 – Draw and fire string of 5 rounds, strong hand only, total 5 rounds.
Dots 6 & 7 – Draw and fire 2 shots on #6, then 2 on #7, holster, repeat X4, total 16 rounds.
Dot 8 – From ready or retention, fire five shots, weak hand only, total 5 rounds.
Dots 9 & 10 – Draw and fire 1 shot on #9, reload, fire 1 shot on #10, holster and repeat X3, total 6 rounds.

Grading criteria: Begin slow enough that all rounds remain inside the circles/squares/triangles.  Once you can shoot the entire course clean, add distance and repeat.

Skills:
Draw stroke
Sight picture acquisition
Trigger manipulation
Target transitions
Strong hand only marksmanship
Weak hand only marksmanship
Reloads

Dot Drill 2 (designed by Frank Garcia)

Drill: Shooter will begin holstered at the 7 yard line. You will use 6 dots.  Set your timer par time to 5 seconds. On the buzzer, shooter will engage the target with 6 rounds.  Conduct the drill 6 times total.

Grading criteria: Track the number of hits achieved within the 5 second par time.  Once you can shoot 6×6 in the par time, decrease par time and push yourself.

Skills:
Draw stroke
Sight picture acquisition
Trigger manipulation
Recoil management
Balancing speed and accuracy

iHack (taken from pistol-training.com):

Drill: Shooter will begin in the ready position at the 5 yard line.  You will utilize 3 dots.  Set your par time to 3 seconds.

String 1: On the buzzer, engage 3 dots with 1 shot each from left to right.
String 2: On the buzzer, engage 3 dots with 1 shot each from right to left.
String 3: On the buzzer, engage 3 dots with 1 shot each.  Engage the middle dot first, then the outside dots in any order.

Grading criteria: 7 out of 9 shots on is “passing.”  Once you can shoot it clean, try from the holster, then concealment.

Skills:
Presentation
Sight picture acquisition
Trigger manipulation
Target transitions
Draw stroke

Command/”IQ” drills

Command drills are designed to work the “thinking” part of gunhandling, a part often neglected, especially in flat range scenarios, but every bit as important as the physical manipulation of the gun.  While they certainly won’t replace well-designed scenario training, they can drill rapid target identification and engagement.

The IQ target has three shapes, three numbers, three letters, and five colors randomly dispersed across the target. Drills start simple – your partner may call a single attribute, and you must engage all the targets with that attribute.  For example, your partner calls “blue” or “two,” and you must engage all the blue targets or number two targets.  As your proficiency builds, you can up the difficulty.  You could try the numbers game (video preview below), or you can call multiple attributes – “red numbers,” “triangle letters,” etc.  There is no set par time for these drills, because the number of targets engaged will vary by attribute combination.  Push yourself.  Fire as rapidly as you accurately can.

Give these a try and post up your times to the comments!

About the author

Joel is an 11 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

Want To Beat Jet-Lag? Here’s Some Tips From Guys Who Have Traveled A Lot

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The RE Factor Tactical crew has some experience traveling abroad and we have devised a few tips to help get over jet-lag as quickly as possible.  Those of us who are often asked to work the same day we arrive need to get into the new time zone as quickly as possible.   So here are a few things that have worked for us.

Take sleep aids: There are many prescribed sleeping drugs such as Ambien.  However, these drugs have numerous side effects and may be difficult to get last minute.  We have found that 3-5mg of Melatonin mixed with ZMA are a great, over-the-counter way to help you sleep through the night.  The melatonin (which is naturally formed in your brain when it’s time to sleep) will help get you to sleep while the ZMA is designed to offer a deeper sleep and put you into a REM cycle.  You can also add over the counter sleeps aids such as Z-Quil although these can cause drowsiness the next day.  If you do take melatonin only take it for a few days since some studies have shown your body stops producing it on its own so use it sparingly.

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Stay out in the sun as much as possible: By putting yourself in the sun for prolonged periods you help reset your body’s circadian rhythm which is basically your sleep cycle.  Going for a walk or run in the sun when you would normally be sleeping back at home will help speed up your ability to adjust to the new time zone.

Don’t go to sleep when you’re tired:  Stick it out.  If it’s 7pm at night don’t give in and just go to sleep.  By doing so you will be prolonging your adjustment time.  It’s beneficial to get out and go for a walk or some other form of light activity that will help you stay awake until an acceptable bedtime hour.

Take caffeine, but only in the morning/afternoon:  Caffeine will help keep you awake in the morning and afternoon but don’t take any after around 3pm.  If you drink caffeine to keep yourself awake till an acceptable hour it can wake you up in the middle of the night when your drowsiness wears off.   Caffein has a 6-8 hour half life so if you drink 100mg of caffeine (about a small cup of coffee) at noon, about 50mg will still be coursing through your veins when it’s time to get to bed.  In the end caffeine is a drug and should be treated as such.  Most people can only handle around 300mg of caffein (about 2-3 cups of coffee) before the drug has negative effects and no longer affects their ability to stay awake/perform.

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If your hungry, eat:  You may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night starving… It’s ok this is natural.  If you are starving don’t try to go back to sleep, it usually doesn’t work.  Instead get up and get yourself a light snack but be careful what you eat.  If you eat something that has sugar, such as a candy bar, fruit or cereal you will have a much harder time getting back to sleep.  Try to eat something that is higher is fat or protein and less in carbohydrates to keep from spiking your energy levels.

Don’t use your phone, computer or TV right before bed:  The glow of these items has the same effect on your brain as sunlight and will tell you brain it’s day time.  When it’s time to go to sleep you will find it’s a lot easier to fall asleep if you read a book before bed.  If you wake up in the middle of the night avoid the above items at all costs as they will only fuel the fire.

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