Back to Top Skip to main content

The importance of sleep - you lose if you don't snooze

It's no secret that military service often results in periods of decreased sleep. Service members need to use what opportunity they have to get good sleep. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Mark Burrell) It's no secret that military service often results in periods of decreased sleep. Service members need to use what opportunity they have to get good sleep. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Mark Burrell)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Sleep | Operation Live Well

BREMERTON, Wash. — Whether trying for a quick snooze, occasional siesta, or attempted slumber, Sailors and Marines are continually at risk for the actual health threat of insufficient sleep.

"Sleep has been identified and prioritized as a leading Health and Wellness Department and disease prevention goal. Sleep is an important element of health and well-being just like nutrition and physical fitness. Adequate sleep is necessary to fight off infection, support the metabolism of sugar to prevent diabetes, perform well in school, and work effectively and safely," said Trish Skinner, Naval Hospital Bremerton Health and Wellness Department health educator.

According to Fleet and Marine Corps Health Risk Assessment surveys and the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC), personnel are reporting insufficient sleep at a steady increase from 31 percent in 2008-2009 to 37 percent in 2016. A related DoD survey shows that 40.9 percent get 7-8 hours of average sleep, with 43.5 percent getting 5-6 hours and 11.4 percent averaging less than four hours.

"There were 37 percent of military members and 29 percent of civilian staff who reported they do not get enough restful sleep to function well on the job and in their personal life. Our department is focusing on the needs and benefits of adequate sleep with awareness, education and intervention techniques," Skinner said.

Sleep deprivation and lack of rest, are impactful physically as well as mentally. Research shows even young, healthy service members lose 25 percent of their ability to think clearly after only one day without adequate sleep.

"When we sleep our body goes through a very intricate process where it recovers and rebuilds. Short and long-term memories are allocated and stored. It (also) gives our physical body time to rest and rebuilt broken down muscle and tissue," said Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Christopher Stevens, NHB Mental Health sleep hygiene specialist.

The effects of poor sleep have been documented leading to mishaps involving aviation and motor vehicle accidents; work performance issues with higher error rate; quality of life concerns such as increased fatigue, decreased response time and lowered immune function; and mental health consequences such as irritability. 

Yet people still take sleep for granted. 

"When we start to feel stressed, self-care is one of the first things we throw out the window. When we have an important test coming up, a deployment, when we are feeling stressed at work, or we are having trouble with our personal lives, it's very easy for us to find time to accommodate these stressors by neglecting things like physical fitness, nutrition and sleep. In the end, neglecting self-care only helps to decrease performance as we are not able to effectively manage stressors at an optimum level," explained Stephens.

"Chronic poor sleep can also result in cardiovascular disease, depression and obesity. When it comes to physical recovery, workouts can be totally wasted by not giving our body time to rest and recover," added Stephens.

Skinner attests that the prevailing consensus is that adults should strive for seven to eight hours of sleep every day for optimum performance. Studies have shown that those who do get that amount of sleep are able to learn and retain information better and outperform those not as rested on daily activities.

There is available guidance to assist with good sleep hygiene. Simple tips to help get a good night sleep include; minimize noise and light; maintain regular sleep and wake hours; foster a comfortable sleep environment; limit caffeine four to six hours before sleep; and limit the use of technology with a screen light at least 15 to 30 minutes before sleeping.

Yet those in the military, especially in an operational status, know that at times being able to implement such simple tips can be easier said than done.

"It's no secret that military service often results in periods of decreased sleep. Service members need to use what opportunity they have to get good sleep. Taking time to focus on self-care increases our performance to the physical and mental demands of arduous tasks or deployment. You can think of it like trying to cut down a tree with a blunt saw. Trying it that way is difficult. Taking the time to sharpen the saw will make the cutting down the tree more effective. Our mind and body are like that saw. So take the time to sharpen your saw," explained Stephens.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Pararescue medics rehearse for unique mission

Article
11/7/2018
Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing revalidate their response time in the event of a catastrophic, life-threatening occurrence within the capsule of a human space flight launch at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. This exercise marked the first time that the Department of Defense, NASA and commercial providers have exercised this type of event utilizing twelve live patients and the full array of air assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan)

The 920th RQW is ready to support the next era of human space flight

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

DoD, FDA working together to benefit warfighters

Article
11/2/2018
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner (left) and Mr. Thomas McCaffery, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) (right), congratulate on another following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the DoD and the FDA.  The ceremony acknowledges the existing partnership and the future collaboration on accessing life-saving medical products for U.S. troops on the battlefield.

DoD and FDA leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to foster and prioritize the development of critical medical products

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

DoD Flu VE

Infographic
10/26/2018
DoD Flu VE

Each season, several entities within the(DoD) perform surveillance for influenza among beneficiaries and utilize these data to perform VE analyses to estimate how well the seasonal vaccine protects against medically-attended influenza.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health | Influenza Summary and Reports

Psychiatric Medical Evaluations

Infographic
10/26/2018
Psychiatric Medical Evaluations

This study evaluated incidence of pre-deployment family problem diagnoses and psychiatric medical evacuations among a population of active component service members without a history of previous mental health diagnoses, who deployed to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility for the first time between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Infographic
10/26/2018
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The purpose of this study was to update previous MSMR analyses of the incidence of acute Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) among U.S. active component women using a 21-year surveillance period from 1996 through 2016. A secondary objective was to report on the proportion of service women with previously diagnosed PID who were subsequently diagnosed ...

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

USNS Comfort conducts mass casualty training exercise

Article
10/15/2018
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Arthur Lammers, an anesthesiologist assigned to the hospital ship USNS Comfort, practices patient transfer during a mass casualty exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joseph DeLuco)

A mass casualty event, by nature, is chaotic

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics

CVD

Infographic
10/3/2018
CVD

As of part of WOMEN’S HEALTH MONTH, we focus on the findings related to female service members. If the risk factors are recognized, these service members can take steps to modify their lifestyles or obtain appropriate medical intervention, and reduce the likelihood of significant CVD while serving in the Armed Forces, and also after leaving service.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Gynecologic Disorders

Infographic
10/3/2018
Gynecologic disorders are conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. As part of Women’s Health Month, this report describes the incidence and burden of four commonly occur-ring gynecologic disorders (menorrhagia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and endometriosis) among active component service women from 2012 through 2016. This report also documents the number and percentage of women with co-occurring incident diagnoses during the surveillance period.

Gynecologic disorders are conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. As part of Women’s Health Month, this report describes the incidence and burden of four commonly occur-ring gynecologic disorders (menorrhagia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and ...

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

HPV

Infographic
10/3/2018
HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S.; HPV is the second most frequently diagnosed STI in U.S. military service members. Currently, HPV vaccine is not mandatory for U.S. military service members, but the Defense Health Agency and each individual service have policies encouraging and ...

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Say ‘Shoo’ to the flu with TRICARE

Article
9/26/2018
Amanda LaFountain, a licensed practical nurse, administers the flu shot to a Soldier. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marshall Metzger)

Flu viruses are serious, contagious viruses that can lead to hospitalization or even death

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Public Health

HPV

Infographic
9/24/2018
HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S., and is the second most frequently diagnosed STI in U.S. military service members. Currently, HPV is not a mandatory vaccine for U.S. military service. However, it is encouraged and offered to service members.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Drowning

Infographic
9/24/2018
Drowning

Service members are at risk for unintentional drownings during training, occupational activities, and off-duty recreation. In the U.S., unintentional drowning ranks as the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death and accounted for an average of 3,558 deaths (non-boating related) annually between 2007 and 2016. The current analysis extends ...

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

HIV

Infographic
9/24/2018
HIV

As part of the U.S. military’s total-force HIV screening program, civilian applicants for military service are screened for antibodies to HIV during pre-accession medical examinations. Infection with HIV is medically disqualifying for entry into U.S. military service. Since 1986, all members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed ...

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

MHS Minute September 2018

Video
9/21/2018
MHS Minute September 2018

Interested in hearing about some exciting events that took place around the Military Health System last month? Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more!

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Spine surgery team adds capability, improves readiness

Article
9/11/2018
Air Force Col. (Dr.) Edward Anderson, 99th Medical Group orthopedic spine surgeon, performs a lumbar microdiscectomy surgery at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. A lumbar microdiscectomy surgery is performed to remove a portion of a herniated disc in the lower back. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver)

The benefits of performing complex surgeries in the orthopedic spine clinic go far beyond the operating room

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 39

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.