In today’s world, we all know someone who’s struggling with Post-traumatic stress disorder. Be it a war veteran or someone who’s been involved in a traumatic event, it seems that PTSD seems to be more common now than ever. An aspect of PTSD that seems to get little public attention is sleeping with PTSD. While going through your normal day can be a challenge, getting through the night can be even tougher. There are many great natural ways to make sleeping with PTSD a lot more manageable.
The National Center of PTSD has a lot of helpful and innovative tips for sleeping with PTSD that involve simple, mostly natural techniques for those of you who would like to avoid taking medication.First, let’s find out why PTSD sufferers are so likely to have trouble sleeping.
- They may be “on alert.” Many people with PTSD may feel they need to be on guard or “on the lookout,” to protect him or herself from danger. It is difficult to have restful sleep when you feel the need to be always alert. You might have trouble falling asleep, or you might wake up easily in the night if you hear any noise.
- They may worry or have negative thoughts. Your thoughts can make it difficult to fall asleep. People with PTSD often worry about general problems or worry that they are in danger. If you often have trouble getting to sleep, you may start to worry that you won’t be able to fall asleep. These thoughts can keep you awake.
- They may use drugs or alcohol. Some people with PTSD use drugs or alcohol to help them cope with their symptoms. In fact, using too much alcohol can get in the way of restful sleep. Alcohol changes the quality of your sleep and makes it less refreshing. This is true of many drugs as well.
- They may have bad dreams or nightmares. Nightmares are common for people with PTSD. Nightmares can wake you up in the middle of the night, making your sleep less restful. If you have frequent nightmares, you may find it difficult to fall asleep because you are afraid you might have a nightmare.
- They may have medical problems. There are medical problems that are commonly found in people with PTSD such as chronic pain, stomach problems, and pelvic-area problems in women. These physical problems can make going to sleep difficult.
How to fix the problem:
Change your sleeping area. It may seem like a simple solution, but changing your sleeping area when suffering from PTSD has been proven to help improve quality and length of sleep.
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping.
- Move the TV and radio out of your bedroom.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Use curtains or blinds to block out light. Consider using soothing music or a “white noise” machine to block out noise.
- Make sure your mattress is top of the line, preferably all natural and botanical.
Stick to a specific bedtime routine. A schedule for sleeping can make everything a little more organized. Which in turn, helps to alleviate stress.
- Don’t do stressful or energizing things within two hours of going to bed.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine. You might want to take a warm shower or bath, listen to soothing music, or drink a cup of tea with no caffeine in it.
- Use a sleep mask and earplugs, if light and noise bother you.
- Try to get up at the same time every morning, even if you feel tired. That will help to set your sleep schedule over time, and you will be more likely to fall asleep easily when bedtime comes. On weekends do not to sleep more than an hour past your regular wake-up time.
Try to relax before sleep. Yoga and meditation can be a great form of relief for those suffering with PTSD. Even if it’s not before bedtime, these exercises can calm you throughout your day.
Let us know if any of these natural techniques help you or someone you know sleep better with PTSD. If not, it’s important to contact your doctor for help.
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