Struggling to Sleep? Managing Sleep Loss and PTSD


Struggling to Sleep? Managing Sleep Loss and PTSD

by Tracy Gledhill

 Struggling to Sleep? Managing Sleep Loss and PTSD

70-90% of individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience chronic sleep loss, cites a study reported by the National Institutes of Health. While your everyday person might have trouble sleeping from time to time, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are at a heightened risk to experience insomnia, night terrors and effects of sleep deprivation. To combat these issues and help manage your sleep consider your surrounding environment, routines, and habits.

Create a Relaxing Environment

It’s no surprise that individuals with PTSD feel constantly “on alert.” After completing service through deployment or seeing warfare first hand, you can imagine that these images are constantly playing in your head upon returning home. One of the best ways to fight against the “on alert” battle to sleep is to create a relaxing bedroom environment. Creating a quiet, tranquil sleep area can help implement positive sleep habits for those with PTSD, reports the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. From soft curtains to your mattress, comfort is key so ensure to research mattress reviews for optimum comfort. A relaxed body and environment will put the brain “at ease” rather than “on alert”.

Maintain Active Routines  

A daily routine does wonders for the body’s ability to sleep soundly at night. Keep daily wake-up and sleep times to get your body’s circadian rhythm in sync. In addition, daily exercise can also help people with PTSD sleep easier at night reports VeryWell Mind. In addition, exercise helps release anti-stress and anxiety hormones which can help with managing PTSD. Be sure, however, to exercise at least 3 hours before you plan to sleep to keep energy levels down as your evening comes to an end.

Take a Look at Your Dietary Habits

What you eat and drink in the hours leading up to your bedtime can also influence your body’s ability to sleep. Avoid caffeine like carbonated drinks and coffee after lunch time, and avoid alcohol in the evenings all together. While it’s important to not go to bed hungry, it is important to have a well-balanced nutritious meal to feed your recovering mind several hours bed. Choosing the right foods can not only benefit your night’s sleep, but foods that release serotonin can help improve overall happiness and state of mind for those struggling with the anxieties of PTSD.

The terrors of PTSD can have a major impact on sleep. By paying close attention to your routines and your environment can set you on the right path toward restful sleep.

About Tracy Gledhill: Tracy is a full-time freelance editor and writer, with a special interest in health and wellness topics. Outside of work she loves to read, travel and spend as much time with her family as possible.