Monday, October 26, 2009

Reveille: Service Members at Risk for Daytime Sleepiness

A recent study in the journal Sleep and Breathing indicates that some military members are at risk for falling asleep on duty.

The study found that military members with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) may fall asleep during the day.

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) can be a symptom of sleep-related breathing disorders (SBD), such as OSA and UARS.

Researchers used the
maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) to gage each subject’s ability to stay awake in a dimly lit room. The subjects were asked to stay awake during 40 minute trials that were given every two hours.

Subjects with poor test results - almost a third of the service members - fell asleep approximately half way through each trial.

EDS can be hazardous. People who operate vehicles, machinery, or firearms – both in and out of the military – should make sure they get restful sleep.

Wakefulness and alertness help military members complete their missions safely. But deployment may make it hard for service members to treat their SBD. In combat zones, they may not be able to use CPAP, the standard treatment therapy for OSA.

Left untreated, OSA can impair cognitive functioning and mental alertness. OSA happens when a person’s airway collapses during sleep, causing pauses in airflow. This stops the person from getting enough oxygen and can lead to EDS.

Oral appliances are an alternative treatment for apnea. OSA patients who do not tolerate or comply with CPAP can wear an oral appliance to keep their airway open during sleep.

Learn more about
oral appliances.

Many dentists treat sleep apnea.
Find-a-Dentist in your area!

Sleep and Breathing is the official journal of the

Photo by U.S. Army IMCOM North Korea

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.