Lack of sleep and PTSD


sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)


If you read this blog then you know that I deal with PTSD.  There are many ‘symptoms’ that go with PTSD and I won’t try to go into all of that in this post.  But I want to talk about the effect of lack of sleep with PTSD.


I had a very little sleep night last night.  Basically, I couldn’t get my mind to shut down.  Now, many people deal with insomnia at some point, so a sleepless night is not unique to someone with PTSD.  What may be unique though, is the affect it has on my brain and specifically my emotions the next day.


In the PTSD brain, a person is on some level of high alert for most of the time.  As you can imagine this state of hightened awareness draws a lot of energy.  (case in point: it is much more difficult for me to write this post today than normal). When I have a night of limited sleep I don’t have a chance to rebuild my reserves to fight off the anxiety the next day.  Kind of like a cell phone that has a low battery and then tries to download updates, etc.  The battery reserves that are there are quickly depleted.


With no energy to keep up with this alert state, emotions start to take over.  For me it is usually anxiety and tears.  To put this in perspective, I’m a 41 year old male, former military and police, and I just want to cry for no real reason.  So I cope through the day the best that I can, avoiding whatever stressors that I can so that I can make it to bed time again.


I’ve come to understand that for some with PTSD, this is an ongoing battle with sleep.  I count myself lucky that this particular symptom is random for me.





3 comments on “Lack of sleep and PTSD

  1. Pingback: A Sleepless Nation 70 Million Strong | dominicspoweryoga

  2. Pingback: “Some People Don’t Make it”–PTSD « Writing Thru Complex PTSD

  3. Pingback: Take a PTSD FTX « Stuff I'm thinking or thought

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