Sleep disorders are on the rise, and the issues are increasing for active duty service members, according to recently released data from the Journal of Sleep Research. A study of active-duty military personnel records from 2005-2014 found a rise in both insomnia and sleep apnea.
The rise in sleep disorders in the overall population is nothing new. An estimated 60 million U.S. adults have sleep disorders and a third get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The sleep aid market is expected to reach $79.85 billion by 2022, as individuals look for solutions to their sleep problems, from special pillows and mattresses to medications and medical studies.
The spike in sleep disorders within the military has risen above the figures in the general population, however. Senior enlisted personnel are more likely to suffer from insomnia, and senior officers are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleeping on the Job
What does sleep have to do with your security clearance, or your job? Sleep disorders in and of themselves wouldn’t cause anyone to lose either. But sleep has a tendency to affect other areas from your life, that could then factor into your reliability and trustworthiness. Continually asleep at your desk (or in an important meeting) and you may lose your job. In a dosed off state and fail to file a classified document correctly? You may end up with an incident report in your file or a clearance revocation.
Just like mental health disorders, treatment is the answer. If you find yourself plagued with sleep issues, don’t just wait and see if they’ll go away, or try to self-medicate with over the counter options. Seek the advice of a medical professional. Being proactive is always the best step toward mitigating any issue that calls into question your reliability and judgment – including a lack of sleep.
Doubt whether your sleep issues are really affecting your day job? Get honest with a coworker. You might find you’re slipping up (or snoozing) more than you realize.