Many people in the world suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This can come from an array of reasons. Due to this daily life and thoughts can be seriously impacted. This is especially in the case of sleep. This blog will help to break PTSD down and highlights its role in sleep.
Many automatically associate PTSD with veterans. This makes sense because those in the military undergo large amounts of stress. They experience things the average person never would. The statistics say that 7 out of 100 veterans will experience PTSD.
PTSD is not limited to veterans. The average person is fully capable of being diagnosed with PTSD because of something they have been through.
What is PTSD
As stated before, PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a psychiatric disorder where a person goes through or witnesses a traumatic event/events. This can range from physical and emotional harm.
Some light-threatening events such as:
- Natural disasters
- Terrorist acts
- Serious accidents
- Domestic violence
- Rape or sexual assault
- War or combat
PTSD was initially called “shell shock” the term used in World War I. In World War II it was referred to as “combat fatigue.”
Now that it is a psychiatric diagnosis that can be applied to more than just veterans, PTSD affects around 3.5% of adults in the U.S. annually. 1 in 11 people are said to be diagnosed with PTSD during their life. With women most susceptible.
Symptoms of PTSD
Typically, within one month of the traumatic event, symptoms of PTSD will start to show. Sometimes it takes longer.
There are four types of PTSD:
- Intrusive memories
- Negative changes in thinking and mood
- Hyperarousal (changes in physical and emotional reactions)
Each will be discussed below
#1 Intrusive memories
Intrusive memories from a traumatic event can be extremely disruptive and weigh heavily on the mind. They typically involve “mental imagery-based impressions that intrude into mind involuntarily, and are emotional.”
- Recurring, unwanted memories of the traumatic event
- Having flashbacks to the traumatic event like it was happening again
- Having unsettling dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
- Having severely negative feelings of distress upon seeing something that reminds yourself of the traumatic event.
Avoidance in PTSD is when a person will specifically avoid any places, people, sounds, and even smells that can trigger the feeling of trauma.
- Actively seeking to avoid talking or thinking about the traumatic event
- Avoiding people, areas, or even old pastimes to keep from reminding themselves of the event.
For example, victims of severe car accidents may try their best to avoid driving or being around other vehicles.
#3 Negative changes in thinking and mood
A person experiencing PTSD may start to lose confidence in themselves or others. This form of thinking then creates a barrier or trust between the individual and others.
Symptoms of this include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Struggles maintaining close relationships
- Memory problems
- Difficulty feeling positivity
- Lack of interest in hobbies or activities enjoyed before the traumatic event
Hyperarousal in PTSD happens when there is an overwhelming feeling of fight-or-flight. These kinds of responses can be present even in the case of no extreme danger or alarm.
- Prone to being startled or frightened easily
- Consistently on guard
- Frequent disruptions when trying to sleep
- Trouble concentrating
- Self-destructive behavior
- Overbearing feelings of shame or guilt
Symptoms can vary over time. The intensity as well can vary as some triggers of PTSD can and also cannot be controlled. If the person is prone to symptoms of hyperarousal especially it can be difficult to control feelings of stress.
PTSD and its impact on the quality of sleep
The discussion of symptoms was important to explain because it allows an introduction to the real consequence of PTSD and how it affects sleep. Sleep is meant to be the place and state of being where we are the most relaxed and calm.
We need sleep. It is what helps not only rest the mental state, but also the physical. A fully rested night’s sleep allows the body to properly digest and recalibrate. Prolonged nights with minimal sleep lead to sleep disorders such as
- Insomnia: a person will struggle to fall asleep, and if woken, to fall back asleep. Not only does it affect your sleep habits and relaxation, but it also affects energy. Often a person with insomnia will wake up to start the day and continue to feel tired.
- Restless leg syndrome: a condition where a person has an uncontrollable urge to move their legs because of an uncomfortable sensation; usually occurs in the evening or night time, when laying down.
- Parasomnias: Parasomnias are sleep-related disorders that cause a major disruption during sleep. These include abnormal movements, talking, or moving while sleeping. Examples of parasomnias are sleep terrors, sleepwalking, and even sleep paralysis.
Coping with PTSD
If you are facing real struggles with PTSD, speaking with your doctor or seeking therapy of some sort may be greatly beneficial.
There are some lifestyle changes though that can be made to help cope with feelings of PTSD. These include:
- Getting enough sleep: As much as possible, sleep does wonders for the mind and body. For some extra help, consider a supplement like Relaxium Sleep. A supplement with natural ingredients designed to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up feeling more refreshed and alert.
- Eat a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet can help stabilize your mood and appetite control. This will also help to aid the immune system.
- Exercise: Exercising can be a form of therapy when used in the proper way. The release of endorphins may help to make you feel more positive about yourself.
- Avoid self-medication: Consumption of nicotine or alcohol is not beneficial to the body. In the case of PTSD, reliance on a substance can grow when being in a state of vulnerability.
We are sorry for what you have been through, know there is hope
PTSD, like so many other psychiatric disorders, is never a one-step, and you’re fixed. Consistent care for yourself and support from others can prove to go a long way in the recovery process. Understand that you are not alone and there are resources meant to help.
To restful and healthy days ahead.
The Relaxium Team
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.