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Do We need to Address both Sleep & Anxiety for those with Diagnosed Sleep Disorders?

Research Paper Title

Self-Reported Sleep, Anxiety, and Cognitive Performance in a Sample of U.S. Military Active Duty and Veterans.

Background

Unhealthy sleep can interfere with US military service members affective and cognitive functioning, and increase accident and injury risks.

Methods

This study examined the relationship between US active duty and veterans' (n = 233) self-reported sleep (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), anxiety (Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale), and cognitive performance (Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metric).

Statistical analyses included Pearson product moment correlations and multivariate analysis of variance, with Tukey-b post-hoc tests, with a p < 0.05 significance level.

Results

Higher education, abstinence from sleep aids, longer time in active duty service, and being on active duty were correlated with better sleep and lower anxiety.

Greater sleep disturbance, poor sleep quality, and sleepiness-related daytime dysfunction were associated with greater anxiety and slower response times, and lower response accuracy.

Statistically controlling for anxiety diminished the magnitude and significance of the correlations between sleep and cognitive performance, suggesting that reducing anxiety will improve sleep and diminish cognitive performance effects.

Conclusions

These findings suggest the need for addressing both sleep and anxiety for those with diagnosed sleep disorders, as well as using a procedural systems approach to decrease anxiety during missions that demand outstanding cognitive performance.

Reference

Rice, V.J.B. & Schroeder, P.J. (2019) Self-Reported Sleep, Anxiety, and Cognitive Performance in a Sample of U.S. Military Active Duty and Veterans. Military Medicine. 184(Suppl 1), pp.488-497. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usy323.

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