Nightmares and Insomnia in the US National Guard: Mental and Physical Health Correlates

Kristi E. Pruiksma, Danica C. Slavish, Daniel J. Taylor, Jessica R. Dietch, Hannah Tyler, Megan Dolan, Anna Belle O. Bryan, Craig J. Bryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Nightmares and insomnia are significant concerns that commonly co-occur with each other and with other health disorders. Limited research has examined the unique and shared aspects of insomnia and nightmares, and little is known about sleep in US National Guard personnel. This study sought to determine the prevalence and psychosocial correlates of nightmares with and without insomnia in US National Guard personnel. Method: National Guard personnel (N = 841) completed an online survey and were classified as having nightmares only, insomnia only, both, or neither, using a minimum nightmare frequency of “less than once a week” and an Insomnia Severity Index cutoff of ≥ 15. Analyses examined differences in demographics, physical health, and psychosocial variables and in the prevalence of nightmares and insomnia in personnel with physical and mental health problems. Results: In this sample, 32% reported nightmares only, 4% reported insomnia only, and 12% reported both. Those in the youngest age group (18–21) were more likely to have no nightmares or insomnia. Those with both nightmares and insomnia had more deployments. Nightmares and insomnia were associated with poorer physical and mental health and greater prevalence of comorbid physical and mental health conditions. Personnel with both insomnia and nightmares reported the greatest severity of comorbid conditions. Conclusion: US National Guard personnel with nightmares and/or insomnia reported worse mental and physical health impairment than those without these conditions. Personnel may benefit from screening for nightmares and insomnia and referrals for evidence-based treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • PTSD
  • Sleep
  • Trauma
  • US National Guard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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