Sleep, 44(7), Article zsab024.
Epidemiologic studies of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and insomnia in the U.S. military are limited. The primary aim of this study was to report and compare OSA and insomnia diagnoses in active duty the United States military service memberss.
Data and service branch densities used to derive the expected rates of diagnoses on insomnia and OSA were drawn from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database. Single sample chi-square goodness of fit tests and independent samples t-tests were conducted to address the aims of the study.
Between 2005 and 2019, incidence rates of OSA and insomnia increased from 11 to 333 and 6 to 272 (per 10,000), respectively. Service members in the Air Force, Navy, and Marines were diagnosed with insomnia and OSA below expected rates, while those in the Army had higher than expected rates (p < .001). Female service members were underdiagnosed in both disorders (p < .001). Comparison of diagnoses following the transition from ICD 9 to 10 codes revealed significant differences in the amounts of OSA diagnoses only (p < .05).
Since 2005, incidence rates of OSA and insomnia have markedly increased across all branches of the U.S. military. Despite similar requirements for overall physical and mental health and resilience, service members in the Army had higher rates of insomnia and OSA. This unexpected finding may relate to inherent differences in the branches of the military or the role of the Army in combat operations. Future studies utilizing military-specific data and directed interventions are required to reverse this negative trend.