Many people experience interrupted sleep and nights with ongoing wake-ups, but others suffer from sleep disorders that require medical attention, especially veterans.
According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many veterans experience sleep problems after deployment, and also after returning from military duty. Both veterans and military personnel on active duty are at a greater risk for sleep disorders than the general public; and have the potential for a wide range of medical conditions associated with poor sleep, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
A 2010 study by Madigan Army Medical Center of military personnel on active duty referred for sleep testing found that over 85 percent had a clinical sleep disorder. Over half suffered from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and one quarter had insomnia. Additionally, nearly 60 percent had other service-related conditions, including PTSD, brain injuries, and depression.
Types of Sleeping Disorders for VA Rating
There are many types of sleep disorders the VA rates for possible disability benefits. They fit into these general categories:
- Sleep-related breathing disorders. These disorders include OSA, central sleep apnea, and snoring. The VA doesn’t recognize all of these as service-connected disabilities, and you must show that they are “as likely as not” linked to an event, injury, or illness that occurred during military duty. OSA is the most common breathing disorder that can be connected to service because it’s often linked to exposure to burn pits, sand and dust, and oil fires.
- Hypersomnolence. Sometimes referred to as “hypersomnia,” this condition is characterized by recurring episodes of excessive sleepiness in the daytime such as narcolepsy, or extended sleep at night. The VA doesn’t recognize most hypersomnolence conditions as service-connected except those secondary to medication use or medical or psychiatric disorders.
- Insomnia. This occurs when there's ongoing difficulty getting to sleep and problems resting through the night, causing some type of impairment
- Parasomnias. These disorders include night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep-related hallucinations, and teeth grinding. While these conditions are often associated with PTSD, OSA can trigger them as well.
- Sleep-Related Movement Disorders. These include sleep-related leg cramps, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and periodic limb movement syndrome.
We Can Help With Your Sleep Disorder Claim
The veterans disability attorneys at Cuddigan Law have helped many veterans file claims for sleep disorders. Our firm cares about veterans injured during military service, and if you need help with a claims application or your appeal, Cuddigan Law is ready to assist. Contact us today.