Sleep Awareness Week 2021

March 14-20, 2021 is Sleep Awareness Week. This annual event hosted by The National Sleep Foundation raises awareness of sleep health and encourages individuals to prioritize sleep health to maintain and improve overall well-being.
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Why is sleep important to health?

It’s estimated that people spend about one-third of their time sleeping. Getting enough quality sleep is essential to maintaining brain function as well as overall health. Research suggests that lack of sleep has a negative impact on the body and can result in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Sleep is essential to maintaining brain health; research suggests that the neural activity that occurs during sleep removes toxins from the brain that build up during the day. 1

How is sleep related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a clinically diagnosed neuropsychiatric condition that is based on the persistence of impairing symptoms following the experiencing or the witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adulthood or childhood. Individuals suffering from PTSD may have trouble concentrating or sleeping‚Äîa state called hyper-arousal. Other symptoms include flashbacks, panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, feeling estranged and isolated, and not being able to complete daily tasks.
  • 70-91% of Individuals diagnosed with PTSD may have difficulty falling or staying asleep. 2
  • Nightmares are reported by 19-71% of Individuals diagnosed with PTSD, depending on the severity of their PTSD and their exposure to physical aggression. 3
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or penetrating head injury that disrupts normal function of the brain. 4
  • Individuals who experience a TBI may suffer from post-concussion syndrome, resulting in the persistence of a constellation of physical, cognitive, emotional, and sleep symptoms beyond the usual recovery period after a concussion.
  • Sleep disturbances after TBI are estimated to occur in 30-70% of individuals. 5

What is Cohen Veterans Bioscience doing to address sleep health?

Sleep disruptions, such as nightmares, insomnia and apnea, can be the most burdensome aspects of living with brain disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). To improve sleep, researchers must measure it. Our digital health platform SleepWell is a research-based program for the improvement of methods to measure sleep and develop precision therapeutics that are user-friendly, cost-effective and reliable. Learn more about our SleepWell program and the Technical Performance Verification study evaluating devices for accurately measuring sleep.

Additional Information & Resources


  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Understanding Sleep:
  2. Maher MJ, Rego SA, Asnis GM. Sleep disturbances in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder: epidemiology, impact and approaches to management. CNS Drugs. 2006;20(7):567,90.
  3. Maher MJ, Rego SA, Asnis GM. Sleep disturbances in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder: epidemiology, impact and approaches to management. CNS Drugs. 2006;20(7):567,90.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Report to Congress on mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: steps to prevent a serious public health problem. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003. Accessed at:
  5. Ouellet MC, Savard J, Morin CM. Insomnia following traumatic brain injury: a review. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2004;18(4):187‚98. Accessed at:

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