Photo: Department of Defense

Study links poor sleep to less ‘resilience’ in military personnel

June 1, 2016

San Diego – Members of the military who have poor sleep habits are “less resilient” than service members with healthy sleep behaviors, according to a recent study from the Naval Health Research Center.

As part of the study, researchers collected data on demographics, health and deployment from about 55,000 participants in the Millennium Cohort Study, including men and women from all military branches, reservists, and National Guard members. Participants filled out questionnaires about their length of sleep and insomnia symptoms. “Resilience” measures included lost workdays, self-rated health, deployment, use of health care and early discharge from the military.

Results showed that insomnia was strongly linked to more lost workdays, lower self-rated health, lower odds of deployment, higher chance of early discharge, and more frequent use of health care.

Researchers concluded that poor sleep habits can be a detriment to military members’ health and readiness. They stated that military leadership should stress the importance of good sleep, and future research should center on the effectiveness of interventions for healthy sleep and resilience among the military.

“We have identified a modifiable predictor of resilience. These metrics are especially important to organizational leaders that are trying to maximize work performance and well-being,” lead study author Amber Seelig, of the Naval Health Research Center, said in a press release. “We also showed that poor sleepers are more likely to leave the military early and are less likely to deploy, which is extremely relevant to military leadership.”

The study was published in the May issue of the journal Sleep.