Guidelines address sleep-related issues in military personnel and veterans

Insomnia and sleep disorders

By Joel Williams

Sleep disorders are more prevalent in military personnel and veterans than in the general U.S. population.

To address this widespread problem, a UT Health San Antonio researcher helped write new guidelines, jointly issued by the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense (VA/DoD), for the assessment and treatment of insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea.

The new clinical practice guidelines are based on evidence-based and effective therapies for military personnel and veterans with chronic insomnia disorder and sleep apnea, but also include evidence from civilian studies.

“We expect the guidelines to be far-reaching and lead to necessary changes in clinical practice while helping to determine what clinical and research questions will need to be addressed in military personnel and veterans,” said Vincent Mysliwiec, M.D., a sleep medicine physician, researcher and retired U.S. Army colonel who helped develop the guidelines. “Whereas in the past, problems with sleep disorders have been discounted, there is growing recognition of the importance of sleep health and treating sleep disorders.”

Dr. Mysliwiec, a professor of research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is also lead author of a synopsis of the guidelines written for the March 2020 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, a leading medical journal.

In the journal article, Dr. Mysliwiec’s group concluded that the prevalence of chronic insomnia among veterans is considerably higher, because it often is not documented in the medical record. Insomnia can cause daytime sleepiness and cognitive impairment and can adversely affect mental and physical health.

Read the full news release.

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