The goal of the Oregon MESH Study is to improve the health and well-being of full-time military Service Members in the Oregon National Guard by providing their supervisors with the skills to positively impact their workplace climates.

Grant # W81XWH-16-1-0720

About the MESH Study

The Oregon MESH Study is a Department of Defense-funded collaboration between Oregon Health & Science University, Colorado State University and Portland State University. With the support of the Oregon National Guard, this study will tackle the issues of sleep-related health and work-life stress amongst our full-time National Guard Soldiers, Airmen, and their families. Additionally, our research team includes former service members who are invested in the success of this study and who are instrumental influences on the study design and training materials through their experience.

The Oregon MESH Study proposes that the relationship between leadership and their subordinates is vital to individual and organizational health and success. With the support of the Oregon National Guard, the MESH Study will provide Family and Sleep Supportive Training for supervisors while raising the awareness of participants sleep quantity/quality through daily non-invasive actigraphy (this Fitbit) sleep measurements. The information we learn from this study will be used to further develop the training that will help the Armed Forces as they continue to address the issue of sleep health across the various branches.

Why is this study important?

The issue of sleep-related health deterioration is increasingly the focus of research in the military domain. The adverse effects of sleep deprivation are known to cause a variety of negative health and family issues:

  • About 1 in 3 American adults sleep less than 7 hours per night. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night for a prolonged period can lead to physiological and neurobehavioral deficits
  • Sleep deprivation leads to impairments in cognitive and motor performance that are comparable to those induced by alcohol consumption at or above the legal limit.
  • Sleep deficiency incurs direct medical costs for sleep loss/disorders and indirect costs related to work absenteeism/productivity and property damage
  • Commonly associated outcomes of workplace stress and sleep deficiency include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, psychological distress, emotional exhaustion, cynical attitudes, and cognitive impairments.
  • Sleep deficiency can increase individual and unit performance deteriorations, including daytime fatigue, human error related accidents, impairments in cognitive and motor performance, drowsy driving, work-related injuries and fatal accidents, and having trouble staying focused.

Dr. Hammer and her team believe that these adverse workplace health factors have just as big an impact on service members, and the military as a whole, as they do in the private sector. Partnering with the Oregon National Guard, the MESH study team proposes that leadership can influence a fundamental change in the command climate by recognizing the importance of work-life balance, sleep health, and overall well-being amongst service members and their families.

The MESH Team