I recently had a conversation with a veteran suffering from PTSD, and that conversation centered around his sleep struggles. This wasn’t surprising since struggling to fall and/or stay asleep is a common problem for those suffering from PTSD. I already know how a lack of quality sleep can negatively impact anyone, so it’s only more magnified for those suffering from this debilitating disorder.
There is a direct correlation between PTSD and not sleeping. That means there’s good news for veterans: getting a better night’s sleep can have a positive impact and healing effect, even if it’s not an outright cure. So today I’ll identify some of the sleep issues that veterans face, discuss ways they can improve their sleep, and make veterans aware of a special promotion for purchasing our products.PTSD and Sleep: The Issues Veterans Face
As I stated at the outset, veterans suffering from PTSD often struggle to fall asleep, and even if they do drift off they have trouble staying asleep. Sometimes, even when they are asleep, it’s not restorative since they may talk (or yell) in their sleep, move too much, or experience nightmares. In some cases, these nightmares are centered around traumatic events they experienced during combat.
One of the maddening aspects of PTSD is how it can cause a sleep-defeating cycle; the problems they’re experiencing can create a distinct fear around bedtime. Because of concerns around nightmares, it may trigger anxiety around re-experiencing a traumatic event. In extreme cases—and especially if they sleep with a partner—some veterans have fears around acting out their nightmares, or about being roused suddenly from sleep. In fact, this causes some veterans experiencing PTSD to sleep alone.
Nightmares are just one sleep hurdle. According to verywellmind.com, there are other causes of sleep disturbances for veterans experiencing PTSD, including:
Hyperarousal: Many veterans remain hyper-alert after service, which can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. If a veteran is “on edge,” even the smallest sounds have the potential to rouse them in the night.
Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a treatable condition—but if untreated it can contribute to serious sleep issues. While there’s no direct correlation between PTSD sufferers and sleep apnea, according to the verywellmind.com article “people with PTSD often show many sleep apnea risk factors.”
Fear of Losing Control: Some veterans experience a loss of control when bedtime comes around since they’re “giving in” to sleep. This lack of control while sleeping can feed into hyperarousal, and disrupt sleep patterns.
As you can imagine, dealing with these specific issues makes it difficult to have healthy sleeping habits, and can lead to veterans having serious sleep disorders.
How Veterans Can Improve Their Sleep
The key to helping veterans get a great night’s sleep is through finding a way to get as much deep sleep as possible. And the best way to do this is through controlling body temperature. Deep sleep occurs during the first half of the night, but is brought on by a decrease in body temperature. Ultimately, the temperature drop overrides the conscious part of the brain and helps to trigger deep sleep. This means there is a direct correlation between staying colder and the quality of sleep (and, in this case, the quality of deep sleep). In theory, if a veteran is truly experiencing deep sleep on a nightly basis, those sleep disturbances would be fewer and far between.
By using sleep systems that regulate your body temperature, veterans have the potential to allay the issues they experience as it relates to PTSD and sleep problems. (Here’s one veteran who has done just that.) By “forcing” the temperature drop, your chance of achieving deep sleep—and staying in it longer—increases. And if you’re getting the appropriate amount of deep sleep, there are a variety of benefits: stronger cognitive function, increased memory, cell regeneration, energy restoration, and more. All of these benefits can help veterans deal with the negative emotions and stress associated with PTSD.
Finding Ways to Help Our Veterans
Since I’ve worked with incredible veterans organizations like Wounded Warrior Project and Purple Hearts Homes in the past, my company’s goal is to provide more cost-effective solutions for veterans with PTSD or sleep disorders. One way we try to help is by offering refurbished products to veterans (and those on active duty as well).
Additionally, this Veterans Day we’re offering 20% off our products to veterans. And for every one of those products purchased by a veteran on the holiday, we’ll donate another one to a veteran in need.
I have compassion for anyone who struggles to sleep. But there is a special place in my heart for veterans suffering from PTSD and sleep problems since they’ve paid a debt I can never repay through their service. These promotions are just one tiny way I can try to help them get a better night’s sleep.
Are you a veteran struggling to sleep? Have you had success tackling PTSD-related sleep problems? We’d love to hear your story.