Sleep and PTSD: No firm ties found

Time after time you hear stories of people with PTSD complaining of sleepness nights. It fits the classic conception of the tortured sufferer, awakened in a sweat from visions of some calamity or tragedy.

There’s no dispute that people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) feel that there is a connection between the illness and their inability to get to sleep. But a study conducted by the Minneapolis VA hospital says the evidence is not so clear. While preliminary, the study, conducted by Minneapolis VA psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Westermeyer and his colleagues, shows that more work needs to be done to reach a definitive conclusion.

Westermeyer published his findings in the September issue of “Psychiatry” under the title, “Quality of Sleep in Patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” It studied 26 veterans to determine what kind of sleep problems may be associated with patients with lifetime PTSD, which could include repetitive awakenings, nightmares, difficulty in obtaining enough sleep or daytime sleepiness. There are many common beliefs about what causes a connection between PTSD and sleep problems, including hypervigilance, distressing thoughts, drugs or alcohol or chronic pain.

Read the full article at the StarTribune.

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