Polysomnographically measured sleep abnormalities in PTSD: a meta-analytic review

Psychophysiology. 2007 Jul;44(4):660-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.537.x. Epub 2007 May 22.


Although sleep complaints are common among patients with Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), polysomnographic studies examining sleep abnormalities in PTSD have produced inconsistent results. To clarify discrepant findings, we conducted a meta-analytic review of 20 polysomnographic studies comparing sleep in people with and without PTSD. Results showed that PTSD patients had more stage 1 sleep, less slow wave sleep, and greater rapid-eye-movement density compared to people without PTSD. We also conducted exploratory analyses aimed at examining potential moderating variables (age, sex, and comorbid depression and substance use disorders). Overall, studies with a greater proportion of male participants or a low rate of comorbid depression tended to find more PTSD-related sleep disturbances. These findings suggest that sleep abnormalities exist in PTSD, and that some of the inconsistencies in prior findings may be explained by moderating variables.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*