Many people with PTSD have trouble sleeping. I know my husband does. He finds that it is easier to sleep when the kids and I are awake, so his sleep schedule reflects that. If we are asleep and he is asleep, no one is alert and keeping watch. If I’m awake, he can sleep better knowing that I’m keeping an eye on things. There are a multitude of reasons why someone may not be able to sleep though.
Many people have nightmares or dreams reliving certain events. Many veterans have them about combat. They re-experience certain traumatic events, bringing back the feelings of fear, helplessness, or terror, causing their sleep to be disruptive.
- Fear of Nightmares
When you have enough nightmares, you know they are coming and may choose to stay awake instead. This fear can cause a lot of lost sleep.
- Thrashing Movements
During dreams or even just because the person is hyper-aware, thrashing around or active movements of the arms and legs can cause the person to wake up.
Being highly stressed, having a highly stressed nervous system, and high tension in the body can make it hard for many to fall asleep.
- Medical Conditions
Many medical conditions related to PTSD, such as chronic pain or intestinal issues, can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Nighttime, the darkness, or a number of other things could be triggers for a person’s PTSD, making it hard to sleep.
In the quiet of the night, we are more vulnerable and able to hear more sounds. These may put a person on alert and therefore not able to sleep, as they may need to get up to check on the source of the noise.
We all know how your thoughts can keep you up at night. More so if you start thinking about certain events.
Anxiety or panic attacks can bring on a number of symptoms that interrupts sleep, including difficulty breathing, an irregular heartbeat, sweating, hot flashes, cold sweat, or feeling as though you are losing control.
- Sleep Cycle
The more problems you have at night, the more likely you are to sleep during the day. This causes a cycle that makes it hard to fall asleep at night.