Military spouses are getting less shut-eye than civilians, and its hurting their health.
According to data collected in the RAND Corp Deployment Life Survey, 44 percent of surveyed military spouses get less than six hours of sleep a night. Fifty-four percent reported feeling exhausted during the day due to lack of sleep, and 62 percent said they experiences daytime fatigue once or twice every week.
One of the researchers who worked on the study told Military.com that the unique stress of military life is robbing spouses of sleep.
“It suggests that sleep problems are really a very salient feature in military spouses’ lives and interfere with daytime functioning,” said Wendy Troxel, the study’s senior investigator and a senior behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation. “The types of stress military families endure … all of these take resilience, and when you’re not sleeping well, it’s hard to be resilient.”
Losing sleep impacts your health in multiple ways.
– Your decision making and critically thinking skills are impaired. Without sleep, you can’t remember, reason or react with the same speed and dexterity.
– Sleep deprivation is a public safety hazard. Because your decision making and reflexes are impaired, you are more likely to get into a workplace or traffic accident.
– A lack of sleep puts you at risk for more serious health conditions. Heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes all count sleep deprivation as a warning sign.
– Sleep deprivation robs your body of hormones and proteins. This causes a triple whammy of wrinkling, weight gain and lowered sex drives.
Troxel suggests that military spouses struggling with sleep talk to their doctors.
“I think it’s important for both service members and spouses to recognize the importance of sleep, and if they’re experiencing poor sleep quality on a regular basis or experiencing significant fatigue that’s interfering with daily functioning, that they speak to somebody about it,” she said. “Sleep affects every facet of our physical health and functioning, but also it impacts our relationship health and our ability to be supportive to our partners.”