There is an extremely high prevalence of sleep disturbances in US soldiers returning from wartime deployment, according to a research presented at SLEEP 2010.
Results indicate that 86% of participants had sleep disturbances upon return from deployment and 45 days later even though the majority of them had no signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Soldiers were more likely to have sleep disturbances if they had a personal history of sleep problems, symptoms of physical illness, or mild traumatic brain injury.
"This is the first study to describe the prevalence of sleep disturbances at two different time points in soldiers returning from deployment without any apparent physical trauma from blasts or amputation," said principal investigator Major Betty Garner, PhD, a nurse scientist in the Nursing Research Office at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. "The most surprising finding from this small preliminary sample was the extremely high percentage of sleep disturbances in soldiers even 45 days after they returned from wartime deployment back to the United States—the safe zone."
Major Garner conducted the study as a doctoral student at the University of Washington, where she screened 58 US soldiers between the ages of 23 and 58 years.
The study was supported by the US Military’s TriService Nursing Research Program through the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The SLEEP 2010 abstract supplement is available for download here.