The U.S. military has a sleep deprivation problem. Its effects are showing themselves in increased health and cognitive problems. 

As Major General Aubrey Newman said, “In peace and war, the lack of sleep works like termites in a house: below the surface, gnawing quietly and unseen to produce gradual weakening which can lead to sudden and unexpected collapse.”

A recent study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that while all of the armed services are suffering from sleep deprivation and sleep disorders, the service most adversely affected is the Army, which also reported the least amount of sleep among its troops.

The DoD conducted its own research on sleep deprivation that was set down by Congress as part of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The results of both studies point to severe issues that do not only affect troops now but will affect them in the future.

The University of Texas’s study showed a startling 45 times increase of insomnia and an increase of 30 times of sleep apnea among troops. On March 31, the Texas Health Science Center released a statement, which was first posted by U.S. News & World Report on its study’s findings.

“The most surprising result was that military members in the Army had the highest rates of obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia diagnoses. These findings are concerning because service members across the military branches are otherwise healthy and have similar physical requirements. Their sleep disorders developed and were diagnosed while they were in the military,” said Dr. Vincent Mysliwiec, a sleep medicine physician at the Science Center and a retired U.S. Army colonel.

The DoD report found that 76 percent of military members and 38 percent of civilian personnel get less than seven hours of sleep a night.

The report also said that (not surprisingly) commanders across all of the services don’t value adequate sleep as an important factor. “Across military commands, attitudes toward sleep may range from viewing sleep as a controlled ration to asserting that a need for sleep is a sign of weakness,” the report stated.