In the past decade, the number of service members seeking treatment for sleep disorders has surged, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Research.
Looking at data in the Defense Medical Epidemiological Database, which keeps records of active-duty personnel, researchers at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts, found that the number of insomnia cases has quadrupled and sleep apnea cases have grown five-fold.
Insomnia and sleep apnea also are rising in the general U.S. population, as well. However, the rates of these sleep disorders is about double that seen in civilians, according to an article on Reuters.com.
While sleep disorders are a concern for any person, they are particularly troubling for military personnel.
“Sleep disorders are a serious problem that interferes with the ability of soldiers to do their jobs effectively,” says Harris Leiberman, senior study author. “When you’re sleep deprived, you can’t use your brain in the way soldiers need to do. You’re unable to think at the level you can perform at when well-rested.”
Researchers plan to search for causes of these sleep disorders, such as deployment, in future studies.