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Sleep advice for veterans and PTSD military members

PTSD can debilitate American veterans and military men and women

Monday, June 27 PTSD Awareness Day — And for that matter, up to 30% of all Americans experience some post-traumatic stress each year. It is important to be aware of what you are doing. Their experience during wartime or deployment, or from other traumatic events such as sexual and physical attacks.

Dr. Yuval Neria, a professor of medical psychology and PTSD expert at the University of Columbia, told Fox News Digital in an interview that patients with PTSD fall asleep due to anxiety, agitation, and excessive vigilance. He said that he often finds it difficult. 

They may also experience chronic nightmares.

"Nightmare is really a common symptom of PTSD," Neria said. "People are afraid of their nightmares and know they may meet their devil, so it's always very vague about whether they fall asleep," he said.

Dr. Wendy Troxel, senior behavioral scientist and sleep expert at RAND Corporation, said nightmares were "chronically vigilant" and experienced flashbacks as well as characteristic symptoms of PTSD. I agreed to be one.

"There is even evidence that sleep disorders can predict the development of post-traumatic stress disorders," she said in an interview with FoxNews Digital.

Troxel led the 2015 RAND Corporation study and found that only 37% of veterans achieved adequate sleep, but more than half reported some form of sleep disorder.

"The sleep problem is really debilitating," she said. "They affect every aspect of your mental and physical well-being."

"Especially in the high-demand and high-risk professions that our army is involved in." It's very difficult to get the job done, "says Troxel. 

St. Louis-based certified health coach and PTSD-respected authority, SJenSatterly, JenSatterly, with combat veterans and others. Those who have worked closely with us who have dealt with PTSD issues. 

A soldier in the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, Charlie Company naps during a maintenance stop at Forward Operating Base Azzizulah on March 18, 2013 in Kandahar Province, Maiwand District, Afghanistan.
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Working with many special operational forces in the field, Today, veteran couples and others won the Oscar-winning 2001 movie "Black Hawkdown", 1993 in Somalia About the battle. 

Jen Satterly explained that she was embedded in a special force and "probably had two hours of sleep overnight. For them (of sleep) 2-4. Time was pretty common, "she said.

At one point, "and I literally thought I had cancer," she said. She told the team the night before the mission, "I can't go. I'm really, really sick. I have something wrong." She said that was reduced. "So I personally noticed the side effects of lack of sleep and how much physical impact it had on me." She said that some members of the army had been on the schedule for 20 years. I said that. 

Satary said there was a great deal of stress associated with the work they did — "the stress on the body and mind is intense," she said. 

She added lack of sleep to the mix and "everything is affected," she said.  

Some military personnel returned from abroad after several months of work, and somehow within just a few days, they were put into the normal flow of daily life by others in society. Expected to return, she said.

Establishing a routine for sleep can help people get more shuteye.
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"PTSD contains nightmares," she said. Told. But that's not all. It's about a quiet time just before going to bed, she said. 

"The vision is back then. The nightmare is back then." Therefore, "to avoid those memories," some people take or take medicine. She said she was.  

"When talking to people who reach out for help, the first thing I ask them is" how do you sleep? " And every time they will say. I, "As you know, I sleep for 2 hours a night or 4 hours a night, but I can't get up at 3 am and go back to sleep."

Addiction often in the picture Enter, she said. Because these brave and struggling individuals have done or continue to do a lot for our country.

For veterans and active soldiers who are aware that they may have PTSD symptoms or are trying to avoid them altogether — and their loved ones and For other families Experience these problems together — here are five expert tips on how to get a better night's sleep. 

1. Establishing a routine to promote drowsiness

The best way to get into a consistent sleep gap is to maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule.

"With a predictable and reliable routine, our body and brain simply work well," says Wendy Troxel. "And the best place to start from then is to have a regular wake-up routine."

Troxel recommends starting with waking up at the same time every day and exposing to immediate sunlight. I did.

"This is a very powerful clue to set the internal biological clock. This is also known as circadianism."

Israeli army Veteran Neria said people should avoid taking naps during the day to promote sleepiness at night.

Psychologists also mentioned the importance of daily exercise as physical activity exerts energy and improves mental health.

Avoiding alcohol in the evening promotes more restful sleep.
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2. Avoid alcohol, especially at night

Drinking some alcoholic beverages at night may make you sleepy at first, but alcohol is not a sleep aid.

"It's a sedative," Troxel said. "Sedation is not sleep."

Excess alcohol that the body has to deal with at night actually causes fragmented sleep and interferes with REM sleep.

REM, or rapid eye movements, is part of sleep that is most associated with emotional processing, learning, and memory integration.

"Therefore, by disrupting and fragmenting sleep, especially REM sleep, it can further disrupt the ability to regulate emotions and exacerbate other mental health symptoms," Troxel said. Mr. says.

Neria added that people with PTSD are already "very difficult" to achieve REM sleep due to disabilities such as nightmares.

3. If you're having a hard time falling asleep, get up a little

For those who throw and turn around and wait for sleep to begin, a little time out of bed May be useful.

"Go to the chair in one room or another room and do something relaxing and distracting," says Troxel. That way, "you can actually put your body and brain back to sleep and get back to sleep."

The important thing is to avoid the irritation of light or aggressive activity. Therefore, it can help keep your brain busy by reading books, listening to music, and taking deep breaths, especially if nightmares are the cause of sleep disorders. 

"These types of self-sedation strategies can be very helpful and we will do it until we are ready to go back to bed," says Troxel.

Getting help is could be an important next step for those battling poor sleep and PTSD.
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4. Know when to seek treatment — and help there

If sleep problems last more than 3 nights a week for more than a month, it may be time to seek treatment, Troxel said. I am.

"It can be debilitating enough to become chronic, so it's better to pick the buds early rather than later," she said.

She assured people suffering from PTSD that they should not be ashamed to ask for help.

"The goal is to improve sleep so that we can improve stress tolerance and ultimately optimize performance," she said. "There is help there."

Troxel also emphasized that the most effective treatment is not in the form of pills.

Instead, behavioral treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy are recommended by the US Veterans Affairs Department for the treatment of veterans with insomnia. It can help ease the intensity of the nightmare.

Neria found that the more advanced the treatment, the less alert, anxious and depressed PTSD patients tended to be.His latest research leverages horse-based treatments through the Man O'War project, specifically for the treatment of PTSD.

"Don't delay treatment. Don't avoid treatment," he said. 

5. Consider these related tips for better sleep

Consider taking natural supplements such as magnesium and melatonin, says Jen Satterly of the AllSecure Foundation. It is advisable to check with your doctor first. "Work on your intestinal health for a better sleep," she said.

Do not drink caffeine at least 8-10 hours before bedtime. 

Also, consider reducing or removing energy drinks from your diet. 

You can fall asleep "without turning on the TV" using meditation or sleep aid apps such as Calm. “You can stay awake in the long run,” she says. 

Check with your doctor if you need to test your hormone levels.