Active-duty military prone to sleep disorders

American flag and dog tagsA new study has found a high prevalence of sleep disorders among active-duty military and a “startlingly” high rate of short sleep duration.

“While sleep deprivation is part of the military culture, the high prevalence of short sleep duration in military personnel with sleep disorders was surprising,” says Vincent Mysliwiec, the study’s principal investigator, lead author and chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. “The potential risk of increased accidents, as well as long-term clinical consequences of both short sleep duration and a sleep disorder in our population is unknown.”

Results show that 85% of participants had a clinically relevant sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea was the most frequent diagnosis (51%), followed by insomnia (25%). The average sleep duration was only 5.74 hours a night, and 41% reported sleeping five hours or less per night.

Results also show that 58% of military personnel had one or more medical disorders, as determined by medical record review. The most common service-related illnesses were depression (23%), anxiety (17%), post-traumatic stress disorder (13%) and mild traumatic brain injury (12.8%).

Active-duty military personnel from the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy participated in the study.