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How Is Your Sleep Affected By Your PTSD?

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And how do you manage it?
I have been having a lot of nightmares and also lately when I try to go to sleep just as I am about to drift off I will hear a sound in the house...maybe just a random creak or squeak or thump and it will jolt me into a state of hyperalertness and my heart pounds and I am laying there straining to hear what it might be but terrified to move and reveal my location to whover might be there (but there is no one). I will finally relax again and the whole thing will repeat itself several times before I am finally able to go to sleep. Sometimes I can even 'feel' the bed go down like someone has sat down behind me and my skin just crawls as I lay there afraid to breathe for a bit.
Usually my strategy is to not even try to go to bed until I am positively EXHAUSTED...sometimes it will be 2 or 3 in the morning before that happens. And then I am all drawn out the next day...and sleep too late and then feel guilty and ashamed of that. I haven't tried any sleep medication.....I do have anxiety medicine to take as needed but am not sure if that would be appropriate.

Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
What works for you?
:hello: For me, med's =some nightmare-filled sleep vs. no med's = very poor nightmare-filled sleep.

I take Xanax to sleep every night and it works pretty well for me - way better than any sleep med has and I've tried lots.

Nightmares will still happen for me at times, but I just accept that and get through the cycle as best I can.
The affect of PTSD on my sleep pretty much runs on a cycle of a few weeks with good sleep and a few weeks with not so good sleep. Good sleep=being able to sleep through the night without nightmares, sleeping with the light turned off in my bedroom and staying in my bedroom all (or most all) of the night. Not so good sleep=nightmares, sleeping with the light on, disturbed/disrupted sleep and a lot of trips to the living room to finish up my sleep when the bed is no long an option. The edges overlap with a mix of both. No smooth, easy transitions. Like Linasmom I figure this is just part of PTSD and deal with each cycle the best I can.

The odd part is that my non-nightmare dreams are really...well, freaky. Not bad, just weird as hell. I've never had dreams like that pre-PTSD.

Before I got on Lexapro I had nightmares almost every night and sleep paralysis around once a week. After I got used to the medication I still have nightmares a lot but they are not as bad, and the sleep paralysis has disappeared so far. The problem now is that the one side-effect I get from the Lexapro is that I sweat at night and so I wake up freezing cold. But I'll take that over waking up trying to scream in fear!
Yes PTSD has affected my sleep greatly.

I take clondine which helps ALOT. I can guarentee every night without clondine will result in sleep paralysis, out of body experiences and night terrors.

I also go through phases of not sleeping welll for weeks and being very obsessive at night .. checking doors and windows are locked and nobody in the apartment... and then a few weeks of being better.
Your sleep disruption sounds a lot like mine when it is bad.

I have had to learn how to come down from that hyperalertness. Or rather I am learning how to come down.c To do it, I have to do some relaxation exercises a few hours before bed time.

Also, I have simply got to have physical exercise every day,. I do this by riding my bike to work, so i get in 12 miles a day. I have also started running again.

Anyway. Relaxation exercises. I used the ones the NHS advise in the self help guide.
I find it helpful to boot the dogs out, get the kids off to bed get the tea on and then do the exercises while food cooks. Music is enormously useful. I use Pink Floyds dark side of the moon, The Orbs adventures in the underworld or (my favourite) The KLF's Chill Out. Chill out is superb as it features a radio sample describing a fatal car accident.

Sometimes it takes me an hour, from decideing i need to do the exercises, to actually lying down on the floor and doing it. If i'm real bad, then sometimes i can't do them at all.

They always make me feel better though, and my sleep has improved dramatically.
I have been having nightmare every night for the past 12 yrs. They are very graphic and violent. They wake me up in the middle of the night and tend to get me very upset. Many times I was afraid to sleep, no sleep=no nightmares. Other times I could not fall asleep. Sadly, there were times I turned to alcohol to help me sleep. Although that is the wrong path...I was desperate.

I tried a myraid of medicine to reduce nightmare and to help me sleep, all prove to be worthless. Even tried Proasin{sp}, a high blood pressure medication that studies showed reduces nightmares in Veterans. No help.

Today, I accept the nightmares. I try not to let them ruin my day, I guess I becoming inmmune to them or I have accepted them. Regardless, I feel better today. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I write. I love the quiet of the night/early mourning.
I used to be a morning person, up @ 6am on my own, sometimes earlier, loved to watch the sun come up with my cup of coffee. Now I do well to be up at 9 or 10 because it's so hard to get to sleep. It's gotten better but I still feel as though a truck hit me in my sleep most of the time. I spent a year listening to every little noise, turning them into monsters (my ex). Part getting more relaxed and part just can't live like that anymore, I dismiss the noises now. I still jump from time to time but don't allow myself to think bad things about the noises, it was hard at first but has become a new habit now and I can get to sleep easier. I also got a little waterfall nightlight, $20 at Walmart and I listen to the noise of the "stream" next to me, pretend I'm by a brook on the grass, it's all peaceful and I am safe. It helped me to have another noise as my focus. Call your doctor and see if they want you to take your "as needed" meds to get sleep. I bet they will. It's too important to your health and overall mental well-being to get enough sleep, will make you even more hypervigilant if you don't. I make getting a full night's rest a priority, even though it means I sleep later, it's important, I'm important and it's not being lazy, it's taking care of yourself.
As with many others, my sleep patterns vary widely. I can go a couple of weeks, with normal sleep rhythms. I'll be able to fall asleep better, and stay asleep longer. I wonder if these times come from sheer exhaustion, as I don't wake up very easily. My dreams are vague and easily forgotten.

Then, there are the times that I cannot fall asleep. I will stay up until 2am (or later), and when I finally feel like I'm about to drop, I'll go to bed, and lay there for hours. I often find myself in a sort of "twilight sleep", where I'm sort of asleep, but still aware of everything around me. I have flashbacks and nightmares, and never stay asleep for long. I wake up sore and exhausted. My muscles ache, I cannot concentrate and I have no energy during the day. I've been in this part of the cycle for a couple of weeks. It's so frustrating and draining.

I haven't tried taking sleep aids. I tried muscle relaxers, once. It definitely helped me sleep. Too well. I woke up at 10am, and had a hard time waking up. My kids need their mom to be more available than that.

I've been trying to follow a before-bed routine, to try to train my body to wind down. When I can get my act together, I will start an evening yoga routine, about an hour before bed. I've also read, time and again, that aerobic exercise, several times a week, improves seratonin levels, which helps greatly with sleep. It's a vicious circle, as I need to get decent sleep, to have enough energy to exercise, to make it possible to sleep.
Ah yes the exercise thing. I keep seeing and reading things that remind me of all the benefits of exercise to my mental health and here is another one.
I think the thing that keeps me from that right now is fear. I want to either walk or ride my bike...but I have isolated myself so much that going out alone is very anxiety provoking. Some of the exposure stuff I am working on with my therapist has me practicing these things and learning to manage that anxiety. I guess I need to mention the exercise thing next time. Cuz I was supposed to go for a nice walk in the woods today and relax and enjoy the birds and trees...but I couldnt get out of the car. I was so aware of how alone and vulnerable I was that it got the better of me.
I also think I will call my psychMD tomorrow and ask her what she thinks about taking the as needed medication for help with sleep.
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