Sleeping is a very important part of each person’s day, whether if they sleep in the nighttime or daytime. Going to sleep helps people regain that energy so that they can have a great fresh start to their day. However, for people who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it is very difficult for them to sleep. Sleep problems and PTSD correlate with one another as the negative experiences such as sexual assault and combat warfare that people encountered in the past can affect their sleeping habits.
In turn, they may develop sleep disorders, particularly insomnia and sleep apnea, as a result of the symptoms of PTSD they are having. Unfortunately, having sleep disorders may contribute to people developing severe mental health problems as well. Luckily, there are solutions that can help people ease their mental health, especially when it comes to helping them sleep. Treating sleeplessness is very beneficial people who have sleep problems since they would like to have a good sleep again without having to stay awake for several hours.
Sleep difficulty disrupts a good night’s sleep
Having a disturbance during sleep can also include moments where people have nightmares or other nocturnal behaviors. Sleep disturbances are commonly reported by patients with PTSD, along with associated distress and impairment during the day. Patients with PTSD and self-reported sleep disturbances are more likely to report functional disability than those without sleep disturbances. Patients who have co-morbid sleep problems may exacerbate existing PTSD symptoms and complicate their recovery process as well.
According to an American Journal of Psychiatry study, up to 80–90% of patients with PTSD experienced insomnia symptoms and 50–70% experienced nightmares. This study primarily conducted amongst Vietnam War veterans who are having sleep difficulties because of traumatic events they witnessed during the war. The average frequency of nightmares based on retrospective measures has been estimated at greater than five per week. Sleep-disordered breathing, periodic leg movement disorders, and other parasomnias are also found in people with high levels of trauma.
CBT-I helps people with sleep problems go to sleep easily
One treatment for insomnia that PTSD sufferers can pursue for is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-I). This type of treatment works very well for people who have been diagnosed with chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia happens when people spend a lot of time awake and angry while in bed. As time progresses, they may link the bed with their own feelings of frustration and lack of sleep.
CBT-I therapy helps people with sleep problems go back to sleeping well again in several ways. Here is how this is also a great treatment for PTSD:
- If you’ve been awake in bed for more than 20 minutes or so, leave the bedroom. (Do not watch the clock. Guess the time in your head.)
- Do a calming activity. This may include listening to music, reading, or meditation. Do not do things that may wake you up. These include eating, using the computer, doing work, talking on the phone, or watching an exciting TV show.
- Return to bed when you feel sleepy.
- Leave the bed if you do not sleep for another 20 minutes or so. (Do not watch the clock. Guess the time in your head.)
- Wake up at the same time each morning, no matter how much sleep you received.
- Do not take naps during the day.
The use of CBD oil
One of the many treatment options that people with sleep problems have seek out to ease their sleeplessness is using CBD oil. CBD stands for “cannabidiol” and it is one of the active ingredients in cannabis. The use of CBD oil has become a popular and natural treatment amongst people who have anxiety. Although CBD is a critical medical marijuana component, most commercially available CBD products are derived from the hemp plant.
A report from Harvard Health Publishing showed that people use CBD oil to manage their anxiety symptoms. People struggle with other mental health concerns may also use CBD to help them combat sleeplessness. Anxiety and depression are a couple of PTSD symptoms that do lead to sleeplessness and various sleep disorders. It is up to people who have sleep problems and other PTSD symptoms if they would like to try out CBD products to help manage their mental health issues.
Resources to check out
There are many resources nationwide that can help people with sleep problems and other sleep difficulties. For example, Hands on Health-South Carolina have a list of resources including clinics, hospitals, and family physicians. Hands on Health’s list of resources are useful for people who really want the best treatment services to help manage their sleeplessness. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) also have resources for sleep disorders ranging from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) to the American Sleep Association (ASA).
The National Center for PTSD also lists the reasons why people with PTSD have nightmares and trouble sleeping. Nightmares and trouble sleeping are also common symptoms of PTSD. A couple of those reasons include but not limited to being on constant alert and regular use of drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, the National Center’s helpline for people to call if they need instant help is 1-800-273-8255.
How to go sleep easily
- Writing down thoughts in a journal
- Playing solitaire
- Reading a calming book or light magazine
- Looking at catalogs
- Making a grocery list
- Writing a list of fun things to do on weekends
- Knitting or crocheting
- Meditating or praying
- Doing gentle muscle stretches
- Listening to calming music
- Folding laundry
Things to avoid before sleeping
- Doing work
- Using the computer