A good NAPP key to better sleep

| July 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

Defense Health Agency

News Release
Warfighters getting enough rest is no game, but a new app will address sleep issues using gaming technology. Nighttime Alleviation Play and Practice (NAPP) is a sleep app currently being developed by the Military Health System.

“Lack of sleep is a high-priority problem that is particularly pronounced in the military,” said Dr. Reese Omizo, director of the Defense Health Agency’s joint, biotechnology research center that is helping to develop NAPP. “Sleep problems can compromise operational effectiveness and make it difficult for service members to resume their lives after returning home from a deployment. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis is as important to long-term well-being as healthy eating, physical activity and smoking cessation.”

Understand sleep behaviors
Improving sleep behavior goes beyond limiting caffeine; it requires understanding how one’s body actually sleeps. NAPP is a three-dimensional role-playing adventure game that teaches players a dozen healthy sleep behaviors and motivates them to use them in daily life. The game does this by guiding players through a 24-hour day in less than a half-hour. One minute of play represents roughly one hour in real time.

“To produce real changes, barriers to sleep must be understood and overcome,” said Omizo. “NAPP provides more than information and instruction; it gets the player involved and more conscious of what they are doing to improve their sleep.”

NAPP is the first MHS behavior change gaming app based on evidence-based medicine. Each task in the game and all player feedback are based on a behavior-change theory.

The amount of sleep a person requires can vary. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep, some do fine with six hours per night – but the number should not dip below six, said U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Tony Satterfield, DHA psychologist and Telehealth and Telementoring program manager.

There are several measures service members can follow to prevent piling up sleep deficit hours, said Satterfield. It might take some convincing for the troops, though.

“Some service members may feel they don’t need much sleep to function effectively,” he said. “They often view sleep as an unproductive use of time — it’s undervalued.”

Research trials start at the beginning of next year, with initial testing to be done with members of the National Guard and Reserve. Omizo believes once rolled out, it will make a world of difference.

“When people are able to more directly see how sleep affects them, they’ll understand just how crucial sleep can be for daily functioning and operational readiness,” said Omizo.

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Category: Health

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