Objective: Sleep disturbances are a core feature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and are often resistant to first-line pharmacological and psychological PTSD interventions. The goal of this pilot study was to explore the effects of a very brief intervention for PTSD-related nightmares and insomnia in victims of violent crimes with PTSD.
Methods: Seven adult victims of violent crimes with a current diagnosis of PTSD received a single, 90-min intervention session that used cognitive-behavioral techniques aimed at reducing post-traumatic nightmares and insomnia. Sleep diary measures, and measures of sleep quality, PTSD severity, anxiety, and depression were completed at baseline and 6 weeks post-intervention.
Results: Improvements in self-report and sleep diary measures of sleep quality and dream frequency were observed post-intervention. Clinically meaningful reductions in daytime PTSD symptom severity were also observed.
Conclusions: A very brief behavioral intervention targeting post-traumatic nightmares and insomnia was associated with significant improvements in sleep and daytime PTSD symptom severity. Brief sleep-focused intervention may be helpful adjuncts to first-line PTSD treatments.