Each year on November 11, we celebrate Veterans Day nationally to honor military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. We take this time to show respect and reflect on those who have served our country. Here at the AASM Foundation, we wholeheartedly appreciate and support the veteran community.

Unfortunately, veterans have a high prevalence of sleep apnea, insomnia and nightmares. These problems often go undiagnosed among the veteran community, though they can be treated effectively. We are committed to minimizing sleep-related disorders in veterans. Take a look at some of the projects we have funded that address sleep disorders in the veteran community:

2018 Bridge to Success for Early Investigators Grant
Mary Beth Miller, PhD
University of Missouri
Treating Insomnia Among Heavy-Drinking Veterans

About the project: More than half of returning veterans, who screen positive for hazardous drinking, report clinically significant symptoms of insomnia. In turn, insomnia symptoms have been associated with an increased risk of alcohol-related problems, perhaps due to insomnia-related impairments in executive functioning, negative emotionality and craving. This project will examine improvements in insomnia as a mechanism for improvement in alcohol use among heavy-drinking Veterans with insomnia. Read more

American Board of Sleep Medicine Junior Faculty Grant
Kathleen Sarmiento MD, MPHTM
VA San Diego Healthcare System /University of California, San Diego
Effect of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea on PTSD Symptoms

About the project: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with increased healthcare utilization, decreased functional status and overall poor health, presenting a major public health challenge. The prevalence of PTSD in the Veteran population is a remarkable 12 to 32%, notably greater than the national lifetime prevalence of 6.8% in U.S. adults. Sleep disturbances, particularly nightmares, are common in patients with PTSD and sleep quality has a direct impact on PTSD symptom severity; PTSD presents unique challenges to managing patients with sleep-disordered breathing. This project has provided data that will assist clinicians in identifying and treating sleep-disordered breathing as an adjunct to managing PTSD, potentially impacting how sleep symptoms are screened in veterans returning from deployment.

2019 Focused Projects Grant for Junior Investigators
Monica Kelly, PhD
Greater Los Angeles Veterans Research and Education Foundation
Clinical Implementation of a Program to Improve PAP Treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing among Veterans

About the project: Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is common and associated with numerous negative physical and mental health outcomes. However, veterans have unique vulnerabilities and needs regarding SDB treatment that are not typically met by standard clinical practices. First-line treatment for SDB, positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, is linked to improvements in functioning as well as mental and physical health. However, adherence to PAP is generally poor among veterans. This study will develop and conduct a preliminary evaluation of a brief, patient-centered PAP adherence program for veterans initiating treatment for SDB. The ultimate goals of this study are to improve acceptance and adherence of PAP treatment for SDB in veterans and to refine the program for evaluation in future pragmatic trials comparing the PAP use program to usual care.