When we think of our troops, perhaps the most well-known service-related illness we associate with them is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But a new study conducted by researchers at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington suggests sleep problems are equally prevalent among U.S. soldiers.
The study was published in the February issue of the journal Sleep. According to the researchers, of the 725 active-duty members of the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy, 85 percent had a sleep disorder. More than 50 percent had obstructive sleep apnea while 25 percent had insomnia, HealthDay reports.
The researchers wrote that despite sleep disorders, participants slept an average of only about 5.7 hours per night, and 42 percent of them reported sleeping five hours or less per night.
“While sleep deprivation is part of the military culture, the high prevalence of short sleep duration in military personnel with sleep disorders was surprising,” study author Dr. Vincent Mysliwiec, chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center, said in a journal news release.
The study also revealed that about 58 percent of the participants had one or more medical conditions — 23 percent had depression, 17 percent had anxiety, 13 percent had PTSD, and another 13 percent had mild traumatic brain injury. Those with PTSD were twice as likely to have insomnia, and soldiers suffering from depression or who experienced pain were about 1.5 times more likely to have some type of sleep disorder.