US military members who report poor sleep were less resilient in recent study

May 27, 2016

A new study found that military service members who reported insomnia symptoms or short sleep durations were less resilient than members who reported healthy sleep hygiene. Several physical and mental variables were evaluated as indices of resilience. These variables were, self-rated general health, lost workdays, deployment, completion of service term, and health care utilization.

Long duration was less predicative of resilience outcomes.

"We have identified a modifiable predictor of resilience. These metrics are especially important to organizational leaders that are trying to maximize work performance and well-being," said lead author, Amber Seelig, MPH. "We also showed that poor sleepers are more likely to leave the military early and are less likely to deploy, which is extremely relevant to military leadership."

The study population consisted of approximately 55,000 participants from the Millennium Cohort Study, which includes men and women from all branches of military service, as well as Reservists and National Guardsmen.

The findings from this study underscore the integral role of sleep as a modifiable predictor of resilience indices in military personnel, a relationship that is likely to generalize broadly to both military and civilian populations and their operating environments.

Study results are published in the May issue of the journal Sleep.

According to the authors future studies should explore if interventions that improve the sleep of individuals in operational environments will pay long-term dividends in terms of individual well-being, efficient use of training dollars, and attendant organizational strength and readiness

Explore further: Poor sleep quality linked to reduced resilience among veterans

More information: Amber D. Seelig et al. Sleep and Health Resilience Metrics in a Large Military Cohort, SLEEP (2016). DOI: 10.5665/sleep.5766

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