Aug 7, 2019
Most people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also experience sleep problems, including insomnia. PTSD can lead to insomnia for a variety of reasons, including nightmares, an over-active “fight or flight” response that leads to hyper-vigilance, increased worrying, and distressing thoughts. In addition, although sleep problems are typically considered a symptom of PTSD, over time they can develop into independent disorders that sometimes persist even after successful treatment of the PTSD itself. Thus, it can be helpful for some patients living with PTSD to also seek treatment for their sleep concerns.
The preferred treatment for insomnia, whether accompanied by PTSD or not, is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which uses a variety of techniques that address the many different factors that can promote insomnia, including psychological distress, the sleep environment, hyper-arousal, and inadequate sleep hygiene. For individuals experiencing PTSD-related nightmares, a type of therapy called imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) can be also be beneficial, as it has been shown to reduce nightmares in individuals with PTSD. The benefits of both CBT-I and IRT continue for years after treatment. This is because these therapies provide individuals with techniques they can use for the rest of their lives.
Below you will find several things you can do today to help improve your sleep. However, if your sleep problems continue, consider seeking comprehensive treatment with a trained professional.
TIPS TO HELP YOU SLEEP
Dr. Fellow’s provides diagnostic testing for individuals ages 6 years through adulthood. Her areas of training include diagnostic evaluations, pre-surgical evaluations, insomnia, anxiety, weight management, depression, autism, and chronic pain management.
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