Nocturnal Awakening & Sleep Duration in Veterans with PTSD: An Actigraphic Study

Pak J Med Sci. 2013 Jul;29(4):991-6. doi: 10.12669/pjms.294.3831.


Objective: To assess whether awakenings from sleep and sleep duration in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were related to demography, posttraumatic or depressive symptoms, subjective sleep quality, and daytime sleepiness.

Methods: Sample consisted of 23 veterans with lifetime PTSD and current sleep disturbance not due to apnea or other diagnosable conditions. Data collection included demography, two weeks of actigraphy, Beck Depression Inventory, Posttraumatic Checklist, Clinical Assessment of Posttraumatic Symptoms, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

Results: The study revealed that awakenings increased with younger age. Variability in awakenings also increased with younger age (p = 0.002). More awakenings were associated with shorter sleep duration.

Conclusions: These paradoxical observations regarding younger age and more awakening may be related to increased sleep symptoms early in the course and then gradual waning of posttraumatic symptoms over time, since awakenings tend to increase with age in normals (rather than decrease, as we observed).

Keywords: Actigraphy; Insomnia; PTSD; Veteran.