Veteran used to ‘sleep with one eye open’

Roy Taylor from Gosport
Roy Taylor from Gosport

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AN ex-serviceman has spoken out about how life after the forces can lead to serious sleep deprivation.

The news comes after a survey from Help for Heroes revealed that more than a quarter of all veterans have trouble sleeping – getting less than five hours in per night.

Female veterans suffer the most, with nearly 70 per cent of those surveyed saying that they don’t get enough sleep.

Roy Taylor, from Gosport, joined the navy in 1974, just six months after leaving school.

After spending much of his time in a submarine off the coast of Russia during the height of the Cold War, Roy began having nightmares and battling sleep problems.

Roy said: ‘When you’re on operations you do sleep with one eye open.

‘We would sleep like that on a sub for three months with no days off, but I carried on doing that.’

After he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Roy was one of the first veterans to receive help from Help for Heroes to overcome his sleeping problems.

The charity uses a sensory room and occupational therapist to help former service personnel.

Roy said: ‘If my body is rested, I am more willing to talk to people and the world is a happier place.

‘Slowly, using what Help for Heroes taught me I’ve managed to pick myself up and I just hope more people can learn what I have, to help them sleep.’

John Crudgington, head of health and physical wellbeing at Help for Heroes, said: ‘Sleep is an essential part of maintaining good health and wellbeing.

‘Getting a good night’s sleep helps protect both your mental and physical health, improves your quality of life and helps your body repair itself.

‘These are key elements to maintain during any recovery journey.

‘While there is more that needs to be done in supporting ex-service personnel in the areas of sleep hygiene, nutrition and general health, we hope this is a good first step in letting veterans know they aren’t alone.’

Help for Heroes has launched a new section of their website with advice and help on getting a better night’s sleep – go to h4hweb.com/sleepforwellbeing.