The sleep characteristics of 37 military combat veterans (17 with PTSD and 20 without PTSD) of recent wars were analyzed to determine if combat deployment, with its resultant wartime sleep restriction, may be an alternative explanation for the sleep duration complaints found among combat veterans with PTSD (as determined by PCL-M scores). Participants completed sleep actigraphy and a self-report measure of sleep duration over a 1-week period. Although strongly correlated, a comparison of subjective (e.g., self-report) and objective (e.g., actigraphy) sleep duration revealed a significant difference in sleep duration based on method of assessment. With respect to group differences, actigraphy data did not reveal a significant difference in sleep duration based on the presence of PTSD, whereas there was a significant difference based on self-report. Veterans without PTSD self- reported a significantly longer sleep duration than what was recorded by actigraphy; a difference of one hour and 11 minutes (p = 0.000); the difference was one hour and nine minutes. In an effort to determine why veterans without PTSD perceived that they slept longer than they actually did, factors related to sleep quality were examined. The results indicated that measures of hyper arousal (anger, anxiety, nightmares) were significantly correlated with sleep duration, suggesting a pattern of autonomic arousal that is known to interfere with restful sleep. Further research is necessary to determine if the sleep of veteran with PTSD is actually different from that of combat veterans without PTSD, and if such differences are actually amenable to treatment for PTSD.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Stout, Jeremy, "Sleep Disturbances Among Combat Military Veterans: A Comparative Study" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5031.