DARIEN, IL – A U.S. House of Representatives resolution (H. Res. 46) drafted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) to express support for soldiers and veterans with obstructive sleep apnea and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was introduced today in the 115th Congress. The resolution’s lead sponsor was Republican Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri, and it was co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota.
“Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic disease that is common among soldiers, and post-traumatic stress disorder is a disturbing mental health problem experienced by many combat veterans,” said AASM President Dr. Ronald D. Chervin. “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine commends Rep. Graves and Rep. Walz for sponsoring this resolution, which emphasizes the importance of treating sleep apnea and PTSD, especially as soldiers are returning from active duty.”
The purpose of the resolution is to:
- Raise public awareness of obstructive sleep apnea, especially for U.S. soldiers and veterans
- Support access to care for soldiers and veterans who have a sleep illness such as obstructive sleep apnea
- Encourage soldiers and veterans to seek and maintain healthy sleep habits both during and after active duty
- Promote continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy as a viable treatment for sleep apnea in patients with PTSD
Research suggests that the prevalence of sleep apnea is higher among veterans than in the general population. A recent study of younger veterans of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan found that 69 percent were at high risk for sleep apnea. CPAP therapy is an effective treatment for sleep apnea, and research suggests that CPAP also reduces PTSD-associated nightmares and improves overall PTSD symptoms in veterans with co-morbid sleep apnea. According to the National Center for PTSD, up to 20 percent of U.S. veterans have PTSD in a given year.
The resolution originally was introduced in the 114th Congress as H. Res. 825 by Rep. Graves, who is a member of the House Committee on Armed Services. Its re-introduction in the 115th Congress is bolstered by the bipartisan support of Rep. Walz, who is the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Walz retired from the Army National Guard as Command Sergeant Major and is the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress.
About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality, patient-centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards. The AASM has a combined membership of 11,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals. Find a searchable directory of AASM-accredited sleep centers at www.sleepeducation.org.