A US Army report examines the sleep problems military personnel face as well as the non-medication solutions that can help soldiers cope with sleep disorders.

One in 20 active-duty Soldiers are on sleep medications, according to the Army Office of the Surgeon General, or OTSG, “Health of the Force” report released this month.

“These Soldiers are less likely to be medically ready to deploy,” the report cautions.

Lt. Col. Jacob Collen, a sleep-medicine physician, who also specializes in pulmonary issues on Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, said physicians usually prescribe Ambien to Soldiers suffering from insomnia.

He and others spoke at the OTSG-sponsored Performance Triad Sleep Summit, Dec. 9.

Ambien – a commonly prescribed brand of zolpidem – is a sedative and it’s also known as a hypnotic, said Lt. Col. Ingrid Lim, sleep lead for Performance Triad, OTSG.

While it does work in getting Soldiers to fall asleep, zolpidem “may impair your thinking or reactions,” she said. It’s something “you don’t want to over prescribe.”

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