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Song Y, Carlson GC, McGowan SK, Fung CH, Josephson KR, Mitchell MN, McCurry SM, Teng E, Irwin MR, Alessi CA, Martin JL. Sleep Disruption Due to Stress in Women Veterans: A Comparison between Caregivers and Noncaregivers. Behavioral sleep medicine. 2021 Mar 1; 19(2):243-254.
: Sleep problems are common in women and caregiving for an adult is a common role among women. However, the effects of caregiving on sleep and related daytime impairment are poorly understood among women veterans. This study compared stress-related sleep disturbances, insomnia symptoms, and sleep-related daytime impairment between women veterans who were caregivers and those who did not have a caregiving role. : Of 12,225 women veterans who received care in one Veterans Administration Healthcare System, 1,457 completed data on a postal survey (mean age = 51.7 ± 15.9 years). Two hundred forty three (17%) respondents (mean age 53.8 ± 12.7 years) were caregivers for an adult, predominantly for a parent, providing transportation. : The survey included items that addressed insomnia symptoms, total sleep time, sleep-related daytime impairments, caregiving characteristics, self-rated health, pain, stress, body mass index, and demographic information. : In adjusted analyses, caregiver status did not directly predict sleep complaints alone. However, in multiple regression analyses, being a caregiver (odds ratio 1.7, = .001) significantly predicted stress-related sleep disturbance, even after adjusting for age, pain, self-rated health, and other characteristics. Furthermore, being a caregiver (ß = 3.9, = .031) significantly predicted more symptoms of sleep-related daytime impairment after adjusting for age, pain, self-rated health, and other factors. : Compared to noncaregivers, women veterans who were caregivers for an adult were more likely to report stress causing poor sleep, and more daytime impairment due to poor sleep. These findings suggest the need to target stress and other factors when addressing sleep disturbance among women veterans who are caregivers.