PTSD and Sleep

I’m writing this at 3am. I’ve been up nearly two hours. That pretty much describes sleeping when you have PTSD.

I used to think that a lot of my symptoms would improve if I could just get a full night’s sleep. Well, I had a full night’s sleep on Monday night. I slept from 7pm all the way until 4:30am. It made things worse.

I thought I’d mention this because a lot of people who hear people with PTSD say they can’t sleep give them those lists of things to do/not do before bed so they can sleep. The advice is useless. A person with PTSD could rid their entire home of electronic devices and they still wouldn’t sleep well. A person could do all the yoga and whatever religious mumbo-jumbo, like meditation and prayer, you tell them to do, and it still won’t help.

The thing with PTSD is that even if you sleep, you’re not really sleeping. Hyper-vigilance makes sound sleep impossible. This explains why I was so tired on Tuesday. And by Wednesday morning everything had completely spiraled.

Sleep will not solve PTSD.

And following magazine prescribed lists of things to sleep better will not help us sleep.

So, if you know someone who says they are having trouble sleeping, don’t throw those things at them. Ask them, ‘why?’ The lists just make people feel like they are failing, yet again.

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