Sleep problems are common in US soldiers returning from wartime deployment

June 8, 2010

There is an extremely high prevalence of sleep disturbances in U.S. soldiers returning from wartime deployment, according to a research abstract that will be presented Tuesday, June 8, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas, at SLEEP 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Results indicate that 86 percent of participants had upon return from deployment and 45 days later even though the majority of them had no signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Soldiers were more likely to have sleep disturbances if they had a personal history of , symptoms of or mild .

"This is the first study to describe the prevalence of sleep disturbances at two different time points in soldiers returning from deployment without any apparent physical trauma from blasts or amputation," said principal investigator Major Betty Garner, PhD, a nurse scientist in the Nursing Research Office at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. "The most surprising finding from this small preliminary sample was the extremely high percentage of sleep disturbances in soldiers even 45 days after they returned from wartime deployment back to the United States - the safe zone."

Major Garner conducted the study as a doctoral student at the University of Washington, where she screened 58 U.S. soldiers between the ages of 23 and 58 years. Participants were assessed immediately upon return from deployment and 45 days later using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Post Deployment Health Assessment, Perceived Stress Scale and Combat Exposure Scale.

The U.S. has deployed more than one million soldiers in support of overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. The researchers noted that the stress and uncertainty involved with deployment may have an impact on the sleep quality of soldiers.

According to Major Garner, previous research studies have shown disturbed sleep can be a symptom of existing medical conditions or a risk factor for the development of mental and physical health disorders. Therefore, the prompt treatment of sleep disturbances in soldiers returning from deployment might mitigate future physical and mental health problems.

"It is anticipated that this knowledge will facilitate the identification of those at risk for sleep disturbances and the provision of education for health care providers in the crucial role of sleep in our soldiers," said Major Garner.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

November 17, 2017
A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower ...

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, study finds

November 16, 2017
When healthier food, like vegetables and dairy products, is pricier compared to unhealthy items, like salty snacks and sugary sweets, Americans are significantly less likely to have a high-quality diet, a new Drexel University ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke may be vastly underestimated by parents

November 15, 2017
Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the American Heart Association. A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.