What's the Connection Between PTSD and Excessive Sleeping?

You may feel exhausted and oversleep as a result of PTSD-related sleep disturbances.

Your sleep patterns might be impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among other elements of your life. Hypersomnia is the condition in which some PTSD sufferers feel drowsy even after receiving enough sleep. Consequently, you may sleep too much.

The Anxiety & Depression Association of America reports that sleep difficulties affect almost 70% of those with PTSD. This can involve sleeping too much, sleeplessness, nightmares, and other things.

Medication and conversation therapy are two approaches to treating sleep disorders in PTSD patients. To encourage more peaceful sleep, you might also find it beneficial to practise some sleep hygiene practices.

Can PTSD cause excessive sleep?

PTSD can indeed lead to excessive sleep.

People with severe PTSD symptoms tended to sleep much more or less than typical, according to a 2019 twin study.

Hypersomnia, or excessive daily sleepiness, is a condition that may be brought on by PTSD (EDS).

A 2017 study by a physician details five PTSD patients who suffered from recurrent hypersomnia. These patients claimed to have slept for 12–16 hours and taken two–to three-hour naps during the day, but they were still exhausted.

The author clarified that the connection between PTSD and excessive sleep could be explained by autonomic dysfunction. This is the malfunctioning of your autonomic nerve system, which regulates your body's reaction to stress.

Because your sympathetic nervous system is always active, your body is always in "fight or flight" mode. You may consequently feel exhausted all the time.

Why do some people sleep a lot after trauma?

Why some people sleep longer following trauma is unknown. There might be several justifications.

There is a high correlation between PTSD and sleep disruptions, such as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder and nightmares (RBD). Moreover, PTSD sufferers are more likely to have sleep apnea.

Reduced sleep quality can result from any of these sleep disorders. This sleep may not feel rejuvenating, which can create drowsiness during the day. Even if you get a lot of sleep, you might not wake up feeling refreshed.

Furthermore, depression disorders may arise as a result of trauma. Sleep difficulties and depression are closely related.

How does PTSD most commonly affect sleep?

In addition to sleeping too much, PTSD is linked to:
  • Arousals characterised by confusion (when you seem to wake up, yet your behaviour is weird)
  • waking up a lot during the night
  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • night terrors
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • recurrent jerking or moving of the limbs
  • REM-related sleep problems
PTSD is also linked to sleepwalking, sleep apnea, talking while sleeping, and restless legs syndrome. These signs are less frequent, though, and they're not always connected to PTSD.

Consult a healthcare provider if you're having trouble falling or staying asleep, or if you're sleeping too much or too little.

Can PTSD cause sleep paralysis?

Yes. Research suggests that PTSD may cause paralysis during sleep. This is the point at which, either while you sleep or right after you wake up, your muscles temporarily stop working. You may become aware that you are sleeping yet find it difficult to move, speak, or wake up completely.

You may get hypnagogic (occurs as you go to sleep) or hypnopompic (occurs as you wake up) hallucinations if you have sleep paralysis. This occurs in the transitional state between dream and wakefulness.

These delusions could be unsettling or frightening. For instance, you can believe that someone is trying to harm you or that someone is in your room. You may even experience a sense of being pushed down or injured.

Treating sleep problems for PTSD

Unrest in sleep has the potential to exacerbate daytime symptoms of PTSD, according to the National Centre for PTSD. This is why receiving therapy for sleep issues associated with PTSD is very crucial.

Treatment for your particular sleep issue and PTSD may be part of your treatment plan.

Treatments for PTSD could involve:
  • talk therapy
  • brain-based treatments such as eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • drugs such as SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Sleep disorder treatments may include:
  • Psychological counselling, such as cognitive behavioural therapy for sleep disorders (CBT-I)
  • drugs for sleep
  • natural sleep aids
  • should you have sleep apnea, a CPAP machine
A few self-care practices may also improve your quality of sleep. Maintaining proper sleep hygiene can both improve your quality of sleep and stop your sleep problems from getting worse.

Healthy sleeping practices consist of:
  • maintaining a regular sleep routine by going to bed at roughly the same time every night
  • establishing a calming nighttime routine
  • Steer clear of blue light coming from electronics like your phone.
  • limiting your exposure to stimulating media before bed (such as intense video games, lively music, or gripping novels).
  • exercising during the day and obtaining natural light during the day, as these things help control your sleep cycle
  • Using soft lighting, cool bedding, and a cool room temperature will all help to make your bedroom comfortable.
  • minimising alcohol intake and avoiding caffeine before bed
  • putting a weighted blanket to use
For optimal outcomes, you may need to address both your PTSD and sleep difficulties with healthy sleep practices. This may need a multifaceted approach.

Bottom line

Some persons who have PTSD may become very sleepy. Numerous sleep-related problems, such as insomnia, nightmares, sleep apnea, and others, are linked to the disorder.

It's a good idea to consult a healthcare provider if you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, or if you notice that you're exhausted during the day. In addition to offering you suggestions for at-home good sleep practices, they might also offer a treatment plan.


Does PTSD make you sleep a lot?

People with PTSD often report less sleep due to problems falling asleep

How long does a PTSD episode last?

Several days or even weeks

Does PTSD get worse with age?

For some, PTSD symptoms may be worse in later years as they age.

Is memory loss part of PTSD?

Changes in memory, especially memory loss, are not uncommon in people living with PTSD.

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