Post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbances are closely intertwined. Research is ongoing to gather a better understanding of the changes in EMG patterns, periodic limb movement disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, and nightmares, according to our sister magazine RT.
Another first line therapy recommended by the VA/DoD and ISTSS is found in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). The desensitization and reprocessing protocol calls on the psychotherapist to move a finger back and forth in front of the patients face and ask that the patient follow this motion with their eyes while at the same time having the patient remember a traumatic event along with the emotions and sensations that accompanied the event. Slowly, the therapist has the patient shift his or her thoughts to more pleasant considerations. One session may last 90 minutes and some research has shown that CBT has had a positive impact on PTSD and sleep issues. This is a controversial therapy and it is not known how it works, but nevertheless it has evidence that supports its effectiveness in treating PTSD.