Current Knowledge/Study Rationale: The potential pervasive effects of blast exposure on subjective and objective sleep measures continue to be a phenomenon that has not been fully investigated. The aim of the present study was to explore the relationships between blast exposure and/or prior mild traumatic brain injury and subjective sleep measures, as well as objective measures of sleep continuity, and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movements (REM) sleep parameters in a sample of combat-exposed military service members and veterans with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and with no current post-concussive symptoms.
Study Impact: Results of the present study suggests that prior blast exposure or TBI alone, in the absence of current chronic concussive symptoms, does not adversely affect sleep quality, insomnia, disruptive nocturnal behaviors, or objective sleep measures beyond the effects of PTSD. Preliminary observations suggest that attenuation of REM sleep may be an especially sensitive index of central changes resulting from psychological or physical insults. Further investigation is needed to elucidate the of REM sleep mechanisms that may be affected by either or both blast exposure and PTSD.