Complementary and Integrative Health Interventions for Insomnia in Veterans and Military Populations

Author: Julie K Staples1,2,3, Courtney Gibson1, Madeline Uddo1
1 Psychology Service, 20022Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, New Orleans, LA, USA.
2 Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology, 12231Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.
3 Awareness Technologies, Inc., Taos, NM, USA.
Conference/Journal: Psychol Rep
Date published: 2021 Dec 2
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/00332941211048473. , Word Count: 155

Insomnia can be a serious problem diminishing quality of life for Veterans and military populations with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sleep disturbances are one of the symptoms of PTSD but even after evidence-based PTSD treatments, insomnia symptoms often remain. The primary approaches for treating insomnia are cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and pharmacotherapy. However, each of these treatments has drawbacks. Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) approaches such as mindfulness meditation, mantram meditation, yoga, and tai chi may provide alternative treatments for insomnia in military populations. This paper provides a brief review of studies on CIH interventions for sleep disturbances in Veterans. It also proposes possible mechanisms by which CIH practices may be effective, including increasing hippocampal volume and gamma-aminobutyric acid acid (GABA). Finally, the acceptability of CIH approaches among Veterans is discussed.

Keywords: complementary therapies; meditation; military health; military personnel; mind-body therapies; mindfulness; posttraumatic stress disorder; sleep disorder; veterans; yoga.

PMID: 34855539 DOI: 10.1177/00332941211048473