Soldiers Suffer From Sleep Deprivation

Obviously soldiers returning home from a war face a number of problems, but one that they’re facing may not be the first that comes to mind.  According to the U.S. Army Medical Department more than seven out of ten soldiers suffer from a sleep disorder called short sleep duration, or SSD. SSD is defined as sleeping less than seven hours each night. A first-ever study recently published in SLEEP sought to look into the problem of SSD among active duty military members. Of the research participants, more than 77-percent had combat exposure. Those soldiers who were involved in combat were much less likely to sleep more than six hours per night.

Although there is much room for expansion on this study, the researchers did find that the strongest predictor of post traumatic stress disorder was sleeping less than six hours per night. Other links in medical problems include:

  • Depression was strongly associated with sleep duration and symptoms of insufficient sleep.
  • Mild traumatic brain injury was most strongly associated with combat exposure, but also with VSSD and symptoms of insufficient sleep.
  • Obesity and tobacco and alcohol abuse were predicted by VSSD, but not SSD.
  • Both panic syndrome and attempted suicide were associated with VSSD and symptoms of insufficient sleep.

In the end, this study provides important evidence of “increased risk among Soldiers who experience sleep problems” and shows “the importance of addressing sleep disturbances as a separate disorder upon redeployment,” said the authors.

Source: News release on PR Newswire

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