Relationships between REM sleep findings and PTSD symptoms during the early aftermath of trauma



Laboratory sleep findings in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been characterized as incongruent with subjective complaints. Most findings relate to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Chronicity confounds relationships between objective sleep and PTSD. The authors report relationships between PTSD symptoms and objective sleep measures from the early aftermath of trauma. Thirty-five patients received polsomnography and PTSD assessment within a month of traumatic injury. Posttraumatic stress disorder status was established at 2 months. The REM segment duration correlated negatively with initial PTSD and insomnia severity, which also correlated with total sleep time. Relative beta frequency during REM sleep from a subset of cases correlated negatively with PTSD and nightmare severity. These findings suggest a link between subjective symptoms and REM sleep phenomena acutely following trauma.