Only nightmares, no deep sleep, anyone?


Does this get better? What helps? my Brain has forgotten how to sleep deeply and sleep without being waken up 5-10 times a night. It jumps from One nightmare to another one, all unrelated to my trauma. It’s just stuck in light rem sleep with scary stories that wake me up and leave me exhausted and debilitated


What helps?
Therapy. Meds. Learned coping strategies.

Though I'll be honest and say I too am 100% holding out for whenever/whatever the "getting better" from nightmares is, because that's one thing that I have such trouble conceiving for myself, given I'm at almost 3 years of consecutive nightmare-interrupted-nights now, and it's shit.

My therapist is confident that EMDR will help with my nightmares, but I'm not stable enough to be doing trauma processing just yet.

I've also just started on a trial of prazosin (arguably the best med for PTSD nightmares) but am on a very small dose to start with so haven't experienced any effect from that yet either.

I do know that talking about them with my T/writing them out in my trauma diary here can help me.

Hang in there, you're not alone.


I can remember every good night of sleep I have had since August 2017 when I developed PTSD .
A couple were on a holiday. After being in sea for a really prolonged time. After talking the police with a better reporting experience. After some more cathartic therapy sessions - I think in a way this is problematic - those sleeps are almost ‘play dead’ reactions from high drama. Cathartic experience in therapy can be addictive for those used to high drama family environments and that’s not something I seek to continue. But extra stress makes me sleep.

Exercise also helps me sleep- sadly I have restrictions with that. But getting a good amount of exercise helps.
controlling intake of media - if my nightmares are amped up I turn off the news and go back to children’s/ very gentle reading material. Art etc does shape our experience.

I wish I could say I have cracked it - but I do know I can lessen it with some ‘disciplined’ self love. Note though that I am typing this at about 1:30 am my time - My sleep pattern is very disrupted and I slept all morning. Every time I get it sorted an experience/ incident or health thing knocks me out of sync. ?.


I feel like I kind of gave up and now I medicate before bed. Klonopin is a benzo, like Xanax, i take it before bed. It steals a lot of energy, kind of like marijuana in that regard. I still have nightmares but I get back to sleep easier. I got tired of being low energy and weaned myself off for over a year, but decided it was better to sleep and feel low energy than to not sleep and really have no energy- it's a tough call but I went back on and have stayed there for over four years now. I am looking forward to weening back off after retirement. It is a tough process but not keeping a work schedule should make it much better next time.
talk to your Doc, there was a big push to limit benzos because dependency is imminent and getting off is hard but if you are like me it is the only thing that has eliminated the night terrors. Even when I was feeling good during the day and getting good feedback from counselors and psychs, my nightmares would have me standing next to the bed drenched in sweat with no idea what had just happened and afraid of what was next. Klonopin beats that, with all the drawbacks.


I've also just started on a trial of prazosin (arguably the best med for PTSD nightmares) but am on a very small dose to start with so haven't experienced any effect from that yet either.

This is the gold standard for nightmares. You can take up to 20 mg but most people take 1-5mg to work effectively. Personally I take 2mg and it works fairly well. Nothing is 100% but it makes it so I do not remember a dream even if it wakes me up I go right back to sleep.


Sorry that you too are experiencing this.

It is an ongoing issue for me. My first ever therapist once got me to list out my nightmares during the week. She was shocked to see that the best night was only 1 (which was later in the week when I was so fed up I had avoided sleep and only napped for an hour or so. As a general rule I always have a nightmare everytime I drift off.
Things that have helped though are doing a sleep meditation just as I want to sleep. Sleeping with a salt lamp on very dim (helps to have it on if I wake up in a panic), and a weighted blanket


We did flash emdr last week, it brought on a lot of processing dreams. Luckily, only 1 (out of 3) per night was a nightmare. They seem to be evolving where I am more in control. I’m still exhausted, though. I’ve been having nightmares for the past 3 years. They are just now starting to turn a corner.


I just started using Prazosin and's been difficult for me though I think the medication is making a difference. Also, I have a good evening routine that has helped...sleep hygiene they call it. After time it helps get the mind/body ready and expecting sleep.

The nights when it doesn't help and I have's brutal. The panic, adrenalin, fear, confusion, screaming...when it happens it's awful.

Hope you find something that helps...


I try to have a prepared set of actions when I am hit with a bad nightmare and need to reconnect, kind of like the list of things to do after a car accident printed on the back of your insurance card, a little role playing that keeps you from going down another path to possibly worse things. I find a light near the bed helps, an old light up alarm clock that I have trusted for years is there to look at and get regrounded a little more, maybe a glass of water, and the familiar smells of my wifes hair, and maybe walking around the house a little until I am pretty well done with the shakes and whatever nightmare I was in has passed far enough that I won't lie awake fearing falling back into it. It gets better, it really does. one odf the worst parts of this PTSD


I had nightmare disorder for 10 months, didn’t sleep a through single night and eventually I would wake and feel pain in the areas where I had been stabbed or shot. For me it ended after I was in a car accident (not recommended). I’m not sure why but I think so much happened and my brain had to focus on new things. After that I’ve only had a few nightmares over a years time.