Dealing with PTSD at Night

When you’ve been through trauma and abuse, getting through the day can be hard. Things other people take for granted can be hard to navigate when you’ve got PTSD.  But as hard as the days can get, for many of us living with PTSD, the nights only get worse.

PTSD can come with a number of sleep problems, including:

  • Flashbacks
  • Feeling the need to maintain high vigilance
  • Nightmares
  • Sundown anxiety – for many with PTSD, darkness and night can bring with them an added level of stress and anxiety

How do we get through those dark hours and get the rest we need when we are faced with PTSD?  Some tips that can actually help you get a better night’s rest include:

  • Create a safe sleeping environment

For those who have experienced domestic violence or other traumas, the bedroom may not be the best place.  For some, a couch in the living room may be better, or a favorite recliner.  Create a comfortable sleeping area wherever you feel safe.

  • Create a nighttime routine.

Routines can help soothe and reduce anxiety. Putting on relaxing music while you get ready for bed, making yourself a cup of hot tea, and reading a favorite book can all help you get a better night’s sleep.

  • Take a nap during the day.

A short 15-45 minute nap can help you recover and get the rest you need if the night won’t let you sleep.  But don’t over do it – napping can make your situation worse if you do it too much, making it harder to sleep at night and harder to function during the day.

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