Losing Sleep in Distant Lands

Travelers know jet lag all too well, but soldiers losing sleep in distant lands represents a different challenge altogether. How bad is it for members of the military? As reported in the San Antonio Express News, a new medical study determined that the Army had the highest rate of chronic insomnia among the armed services over a long decade of war.


The study showed a sharp increase among men and women as the U.S. fought in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2005 to 2013 and found those veterans were more likely to have high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

“Insomnia is a common complaint in active-duty service members,” the authors of the study wrote in a report issued by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. “Of those returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, 41 percent reported problems sleeping.”


According to reporter Sig Christenson, the problem is well known among troops who’ve served in the war zone since 9/11. But the study found chronic insomnia, diagnosed when symptoms occur at least three times a week for three months or more, rose sharply from 2004 through 2012.


“Researchers pored over more than a decade’s worth of medical data to reach their findings, published late last week in the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report,” writes Christenson. “Both men and women slept poorly in many cases. The Army—which bore the heaviest burden of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, sending soldiers to the war zone on multiple occasions—had the highest rate of chronic insomnia.”


Source: San Antonio News

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