Trauma and Sleep
Stress from a traumatic event can often lead to a variety of sleep problems. When the body is overstimulated, the brain is flooded with neurochemicals that keep us awake, such as epinephrine and adrenaline, making it difficult to wind down at the end of the day. The neurochemicals remain present in the brain and can interrupt your normal sleep cycle. The result can be insomnia, bad dreams, and daytime fatigue caused by sleep disturbance.
The following are common sleep problems following a trauma:
Some people with sleep problems and anxiety have posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is a reaction to a traumatic stressful event resulting in a feeling of a loss of control and an inability to help yourself in a bad situation. It’s often experienced by people who are in situations that range from combat to rape, but it can be caused by a variety of events.
For those who are experiencing temporary sleep problems, there are a number of recommendations for dealing with insomnia, bad dreams, and daytime fatigue. Sleep experts recommend trying to reduce feelings of stress, especially before bedtime. Don’t watch the news right before going to bed. Avoid coffee in the afternoon and evening. Take a warm bath or soak in a hot tub before bedtime. If sleep problems persist, see your doctor, who can prescribe medications that will help you sleep but won’t