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Effects of Sleep Deficiency on National Guard Personnel Responding to Disasters

TriService Nursing Research Program – $361,296
10/1/15 – 9/30/18


This study will examine the consequences of sleep deprivation and fatigue for National Guardsmen who are part of a medical response team. Our long-term goal is to help protect the health of our service members, civilian disaster response partners, and victims of disaster. The main objective of this study is to determine the prevalence and impact of sleep loss on National Guard medical personnel responding to a major disaster. Our central hypothesis is twofold: 1) sleep deprivation, fragmentation, and restriction occurs during National Guard disaster training; and 2) sleep deprivation, fragmentation, and restriction impacts National Guard members’ performance on simulated tasks during disaster training. The rationale underlying this proposed research is that there is ample data from multiple sources to support the need to improve sleep and increase sleep opportunity during extended operations. The Restoration and Repair Theory of Sleep—which states that sleep is needed for the body to repair itself, and that sleep deprivation will consequentially lead to decreased functioning, supports our hypothesis. Expected outcomes are: 1) an understanding of the extent of sleep restriction, deprivation, and fragmentation on National Guard members during disaster training, 2) an estimate of the impact of sleep restriction, deprivation, and fragmentation on National Guard member critical skills performance, and 3) a set of research-based recommendations for medical and nursing commanders that address sleep health for service members under their command. Collectively, these outcomes will allow us to assist in improving mission capability by estimating and reducing fatigue-induced errors by National Guard service members.

Primary Investigator

Denise Smart
Denise Smart, DrPH | PROFILE


Lois James, PhD | PROFILE