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Sleep

Good sleep is vital to good health. Sleep helps people cope with stress, solve problems, and recover from illness or injury. Lack of sleep can lead to drowsiness, irritability, lack of concentration, memory and physical problems. While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, experts suggest that adults function best when they get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. You should figure out how much sleep you need to feel well-rested. Ensuring that fatigue isn’t a problem during the day is one way of determining how much sleep is needed.

 

 

Common sleep-wake disorders include insomnia, nightmares, sleep terrors, obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome.

  1. Insomnia – Insomnia refers to having trouble falling or staying asleep.  Sleep problems can often lead to experiences of anxiety and depression.  Likewise, having anxiety and depression can contribute to sleep problems.
  2. Nightmares – Nightmares usually happen during Rapid Eye Movement sleep and bring up feelings of terror or distress related to a traumatic event. The nightmare is a reliving of that traumatic event with the same fear, rage, or helplessness that was felt during the actual event. They are so vivid and detailed that people often remember them after waking.
  3. Sleep terrors - Any sleep terror memories are single images – not like the story experience you get from a nightmare. Sleep terrors can be so frightening or terrifying that you may scream, shake, sweat, feel your heart race, feel confused, or have trouble calming down. When the sleep terror ends, you calm down and return to normal sleep. Most people don’t remember sleep terrors when they wake up.
  4. Others – Obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy and restless legs syndromes.

Here are some steps you can take if you are concerned about having a sleep problem: 

  1. Meet with your primary care provider. They can do a careful evaluation of your specific sleep concerns and recommend strategies to improve your sleep.
  2. Learn about sleep hygiene and keep a sleep diary. Sleep hygiene refers to setting up a sleep schedule, routine and environment to improve your chances for better sleep. A sleep diary helps to track when you go to sleep, how long you sleep and how well you sleep.The mobile app, CBT-I Coach, has information and a sleep diary.
  3. Educate yourself on different aspects of sleep. The podcast, "A Better Night’s Sleep" is a set of interviews with experts on all topics related to sleep such as sleepwalking, nightmares, parasomnias, etc.

How do you know if you have a sleep problem? When should you consider getting help from a health care professional? If you’re concerned about experiences you’ve been having, consider taking the self-assessment for sleep.  It’s an anonymous tool that provides results and recommendations for next steps and includes some self-help materials, along with other resources.

For more questions or answers about sleep, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Sleep

 

Take a Self Assessment

Self Assessment for Sleep [0% complete]

Welcome to the Sleep Assessment

Completing this questionnaire should take about five minutes. When you've completed the assessment, your results will be returned along with some resources you're sure to find helpful.

Because your privacy is of utmost importance, we do not collect any personal health information (PHI). For more information about the use of PHI and your personal privacy, please visit the Defense Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Transparency Division of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Important Note

While this tool can help you determine if you need additional help, only a health care professional can provide an accurate diagnosis.

Please check, "I Acknowledge" below to confirm that you have read and understand these statements as they have been presented to you.

I feel sleepy during the day, even when I get a good night’s sleep.

I get very irritable when I can't sleep.

I often wake up at night and have trouble falling back to sleep.

It usually takes me a long time to fall asleep.

I often wake up very early and can’t fall back to sleep.

I usually feel achy and stiff when I wake up in the morning.

I often seem to wake up because of dreams.

I sometimes wake up gasping for breath.

My bed partner says my snoring keeps her/him from sleeping.

I’ve fallen asleep driving.

Although only a healthcare professional can provide a diagnosis, your responses suggest that you are not experiencing symptoms associated with sleep disorders.

Recommendations

  • Consult with your health care provider if you have questions (or find a doctor on the TRICARE website).
  • Listen to the “A Better Night’s Sleep” podcast to learn about a variety of sleep disorders for adults and children.
  • Learn about other health issues that often relate to sleep disorders: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and stress.
  • For immediate help, visit the Veteran Crisis Line for text support or call 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1).

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