Did you know that sleep deprivation is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 40 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. That’s about 50 to 70 million sleep-deprived people.
Sleep Problems Common in Combat Veterans
Included in that number are veterans. In fact, according to a recent VetAdvisor® Sleep Survey (VSS) 76 percent of veterans surveyed have “trouble falling or staying asleep” at night, and 91 percent are fatigued during the day.
The survey, designed to help researchers understand and treat sleep disorders in veterans, also showed that chronic insomnia was high among combat veterans due to “factors associated with trauma such as nightmares or feeling the need to be ‘on guard’.”
According to the National Center for PTSD, sleep disorders are not unusual for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Since sleep deprivation can lead to a number of serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, or chronic fatigue syndrome, veterans should take steps to overcome their sleep problems.
Self-Help Just a Touch Pad Away
If you are one of those veterans, most likely your local VA clinic can connect you with a professional sleep counselor for treatment. For the sake of good health, it’s advisable for you to do so.
In the meantime, if you have a cell phone, you can easily download an app especially designed to help guide you through getting a good night’s sleep. It’s called the CBT-I Coach, another mobile application (app) self-help tool for veterans made available through a partnership with the National Center for PTSD, and the Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) which designs and builds self-help mobile applications.
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) “13 to 20 percent of the 2.6 million service members deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 may suffer from PTSD” but “only slightly more than half of those diagnosed with PTSD actually received treatment.”
If you are one who has shied away from getting the professional medical care you may need, T2’s mobile applications could provide some self-care solutions that can make a difference in helping you improve the quality of your life.
The CBT-I Coach app is quite effective on its own, but keep in mind that it is best used along with the support of a professional sleep therapist.
Some of CBT-I app features include:
- Methods for tracking your sleep patterns
- Reminders for taking sleep medications
- Techniques to help you relax
- Information to help you understand the health benefits of sleep
- Tips and motivational messages to help you change negative sleep habits
The CBT-I Coach works on iPhones, iPads and Android devices. Check it out, as well as the T2 series of mobile apps already designed to help improve the lives of veterans and service members dealing with traumatic brain injury (TBI), PTSD, and other mental health conditions.
Download it for free at www.t2health.org.