Sleep disturbances, including repetitive nightmares and insomnia, are central and long-lasting aspects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This study utilized a questionnaire to compare sleep disturbance in Vietnam War combat veterans having PTSD with non-PTSD patients having insomnia without other PTSD symptoms. The PTSD group reported symptoms of anxiety, agitation and concurrent body movement which were associated with insomnia. Nightmares of this group were more repetitive and more disruptive of a return to sleep than the non-PTSD insomnia group. The PTSD group also reported more fatigue during daytime functioning and more anxiety during waking hours than the non-PTSD insomnia group.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Similar content being viewed by others
Archibald, H., Long, D., and Miller, C. (1962). Gross stress reaction in combat — a 15-Year Follow-Up.Am. J. Psychiatry 119: 317–322.
Aserinsky, E., and Klietman, N. (1953). Regularly occurring periods of eye motility and concomitant phenomenon during sleep.Science 118: 273–274.
Brill, N., and Beebe, G. (1955).A Follow up Study of War Neuroses VA Medical Monograph, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
Burstein, A. (1985). Post-traumatic flashbacks, dream disturbances and mental imagery.J. Clin. Psychiatry 46(9): 374–378.
Defazio, V. (1975). The Vietnam era veteran: Psychological problems.J. Contemp. Psychother. 7: 9–15.
Engendorf, A., Kadushkin, C., Laufer, R., Rothbart, G., and Sloan, L. (1981). Legacies of Vietnam: Comparative Adjustment of Veterans and Their Peers. Center for Policy Research Inc., New York.
Greenberg, R., Pearlman, R., and Gampel, D. (1975). War Neurosis and the Adaptive Function of REM Sleep.Brit. J. Med. Psychol. 45: 27–33.
Hartman, E. (1984).The Nightmare — The Psychology and Biology of Terrifying Dreams Basic Books, New York.
Hefez, A., Metz, L., and Lavie, P. (1987). Long term effects of extreme situational stress on sleep and dreaming.Am. J. Psychiatry 144(3): 344–347.
Horowitz, M., Wilner, N., and Kaltreider, N. (1980). Signs and signals of post-traumatic stress disorder.Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 37: 85–92.
Kean, T. M., Malloy, P., and Fairbank, J. (1984). Empirical development of an MMPI subscale for assessment of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 52: 888–896.
Kirk, E. R. (1968).Experimental Design: Procedures for the Berhavioral Sciences Brooks/Cole, Belmont, Calif.
Lavie, P., Hefez, A., Halpern, G., and Enoch, D. (1979). Long term effects of traumatic war — Related events on sleep.Am. J. Psychiatry 136(2): 175–178.
Leopold, R. L., and Dillon, H. (1963). The psycho-anatomy of a disaster: A long term study of post-traumatic neurosis in the survivors of a marine explosion.Am. J. Psychiatry 119: 913–921.
Schlosberg, A., and Benjamin, M. (1978). Sleep patterns three acute combat fatigue cases.J. Clin. Psychiatry 39: 546–548.
Van der kolk, B., Blitz, R., Burr, W., Shery, M., Hartman, E. (1984). Nightmares and trauma — A comparison of nightmares after trauma with lifelong nightmares in veterans.Am. J. Psychiatry 141(2): 187–190.
Van der Kolk, B., Burr, W., Blitz, R., and Hartman, E. (1981). Characteristics of nightmares among veterans with or without combat experience, Sleep Res. 10: 179.
Wilmer, H. A. (1982). Post-traumatic stress disorder.Psychiatry Ann. 11: 995–1003.
Ziarnowski, P. A., and Broida, D. C. (1984). Therapeutic implications of nightmares in Vietnam combat veterans.VA Pract. 63–68.
About this article
Cite this article
Inman, D.J., Silver, S.M. & Doghramji, K. Sleep disturbance in post-traumatic stress disorder: A comparison with non-PTSD insomnia. J Trauma Stress 3, 429–437 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00974782