The Importance of Sleep

We spend approximately 1/3 of our lives sleeping. Sleep is one of our basic daily needs. It is important for our overall well-being, and fundamentally influences our performance, attention, memory, energy level, and mood. Sleep experts agree that in order to function optimally, we all require good quality, sufficient sleep.

Despite our biological need for sleep, many are unable to sleep as much – or as well – as they may need or wish. In the past century, the average amount of sleep time among Americans has decreased by an estimated 20%. In addition, across the lifetime, approximately 30% of adults will experience insomnia symptoms that may benefit from treatment, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or awaking up too early, or non-restful sleep. Untreated, the cumulative, long-term effects of chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders are associated with an increased risk of a wide range of negative health outcomes. This includes hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart attack, and stroke.

Research that improves our understanding of sleep promises development of the most effective treatments for insomnia. Sleep problems often persist even when an individual has received other medical and/or mental health treatments. This underscores the importance of studying the use of an insomnia treatment as an addition to ongoing or current medical care, as well as studying the briefest, most effective insomnia treatments possible. In the current study, we are testing the use of a brief, non-pharmacological treatment for insomnia among military service members specifically.