Mental Health: PTSD Can Lead To Lack Of Sleep; Try These Tips To Make Sleeping A Better Experience
PTSD: Continue reading as we share tips that can help you overcome sleep problems if you have PTSD.
PTSD: Sleep problems are a very common symptom of PTSD
Following a stressful experience, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterised by a chronically elevated level of alertness. People may not recognise they have PTSD until many months after the distressing event since it frequently becomes worse with time or builds slowly.
Sleep and PTSD are complicatedly related. Although many mental health diseases are accompanied by sleep issues, PTSD sleep issues are actually thought of as an aspect of the disorder. Two of the symptoms used to identify PTSD are specifically linked to sleep i.e. intrusion and hyperarousal, which can show up as insomnia and nightmares, respectively.
This can make it very difficult for people with PTSD to get proper rest and sleep. Although poor sleep may not be easy to completely eliminate, you can take steps to improve it. Read on as we share tips that can help improve your sleep.
Tips to improve sleep for people with PTSD:
1. Create a safe sleeping space
It is crucial to take all the necessary steps to establish a sense of safety in your present life because PTSD is caused by experiences that may have left you feeling unsafe. Experiences in terms of physical, mental, and emotional safety are included. It involves more than just making sure your front door is locked. It's having a confidant you can trust. Having a secure location is important, perhaps your bedroom.
2. Avoid other stresses before bed
It's crucial to turn off the stressors and activities of the day an hour or two before bed because PTSD might make you more anxious and alert. Make this time of the day to be something to enjoy. Watch some entertaining, upbeat tv. Find a fulfilling hobby or read cheerful books. This enables us to release the tension from the day and tell our bodies it is time to unwind.
3. Don't go to bed if you're not sleepy
Many insomniacs attempt to make up for lost sleep by staying in bed longer. Unfortunately, staying in bed longer when you aren't asleep merely makes you less drowsy and makes you more frustrated over not sleeping. This merely makes the sleeplessness worse, resulting in additional frustration and time spent in bed. It's crucial to pay attention to your body's drowsiness cues. However, this doesn't mean you don't go to bed at all. Try to form a sleeping routine.
Actively burning off some of that extra energy during the day will help you feel more relaxed and capable of sleeping. Sleep quality and duration have been shown to improve with regular physical activity. You need to exercise every day because of the hyperarousal brought on by PTSD because it takes time for the advantages to accumulate. Exercise is especially crucial the day following a poor night's sleep, when you could feel drained and unmotivated.
5. Improve sleep hygiene
The goal of sleep hygiene is to eliminate distractions from the environment. For instance, make sure your bedroom is dark, your bed is comfy, the temperature is appropriate, etc. While good sleep hygiene won't fix your sleep issues, it will at least ensure that your resting environment is as conducive as possible.
6. Try distractions
Distracting stimuli can help you block negative thoughts long enough for your mind to drift off to sleep. Despite experts' recommendations to avoid watching TV before bed, many of my PTSD patients find it difficult to get to sleep without the distraction of late-night TV or their smartphone. Electronic gadget blue light, on the other hand, works as a stimulant and interferes with falling asleep. Reading or listening to audiobooks or podcasts on your smartphone is a preferred substitute.
Keep these tips in mind if you experience trouble sleeping at night.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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