A study suggests that poor sleep quality is associated with reduced resilience among veterans and returning military personnel.

Results show that 63% of participants endorsed poor sleep quality, which was negatively associated with resilience. Longer sleep onset, lower sleep efficiency, shorter sleep duration, worse sleep quality, and greater daytime disturbance were each associated with lower resilience. Findings suggest that appraisal of sleep quality may contribute to resilience scores more than self-reported sleep efficiency.

‘To our knowledge, this study is the first to examine the relationship between resilience, defined here as positive stress-coping ability, and self-reported sleep quality among veterans and active duty service-members of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts,” says lead author Jaime M. Hughes, MPH, MSW, research affiliate at Durham VA Medical Center and doctoral student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, in a release.

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and presented June 8 at SLEEP 2015.

The study group comprised 2,597 Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans. Eighty percent were male with a mean age of 37 years. An in-person assessment captured resilience (Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale), post-traumatic stress disorder (Davidson Trauma Scale), sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), and combat exposure (Combat Exposure Scale).

‘These results support the need for additional research to better understand resilience as it relates sleep behaviors and sleep quality. Such findings may contribute to a better understanding of how chronic sleep disturbance impacts an individual’s adaptive and functional capacities upon reintegration, and can help to inform the development of novel sleep interventions,” Hughes says.