Sleep quality of German soldiers before, during and after deployment in Afghanistan—a prospective study
In this prospective study, subjective sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness prior to, during and after deployment of German soldiers in Afghanistan were examined. Sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; PSQI) and daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale; ESS) were assessed in 118 soldiers of the German army, who were deployed in Afghanistan for 6 months (deployment group: DG) and in 146 soldiers of a non‐deployed control group (CG) at baseline. Results of the longitudinal analysis are reported, based on assessments conducted prior to, during the deployment and afterwards in the DG, and in the CG in parallel. Sleep quality and daytime sleepiness in the DG were already impaired during the predeployment training phase and remained at that level during the deployment phase, which clearly indicates the need for more attention on sleep in young soldiers, already at this early stage. The percentage of impaired sleepers decreased significantly after deployment. Programmes to teach techniques to improve sleep and reduce stress should be implemented prior to deployment to reduce sleep difficulties and excessive daytime sleepiness and subsequent psychiatric disorders.
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