Is Poor Sleep in Veterans a Function of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Academic Article uri icon


  • Substantial research has demonstrated an association between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and quality of sleep, particularly in veteran populations. The exact nature of this relationship, however, is not clear. The possibility that poor sleep is a more general experience among veterans has not been explored to date, with most studies focusing only on veteran populations with PTSD. This pilot study aimed to explore whether sleep disturbance is common to veterans generally or simply those with PTSD. Data were collected from a community sample of 152 Australian Vietnam war veterans, 87 of whom did not meet criteria for PTSD. All those with PTSD and 90% of those without PTSD reported clinically significant sleep disturbance, indicating that serious sleep problems are common across the veteran population. Despite the limitations of this initial study, these results highlight the importance of ensuring that research into sleep disorders in veterans with PTSD pays attention to the potential etiological role of other military factors, including deployments.

publication date

  • September 2009