On Monday, June 27, PTSD Awareness Day — and on every day of the year, for that matter — it’s important for all Americans to recognize that up to 30% of service members experience some sort of post-traumatic stress from their experiences during wartime or deployments or from other traumatic events, such as sexual and physical assault.
Dr. Yuval Neria, a Columbia University professor of medical psychology and PTSD expert, told Fox News Digital in an interview that PTSD sufferers often find difficulty falling asleep due to anxiety, agitation and hyper-vigilance.
They also may experience chronic nightmares.
“Nightmares are really a common symptom of PTSD,” said Neria. “People are terrified by their nightmares and always very ambivalent about whether to fall asleep or not because they know that they may meet their demons,” he also said.
RAND Corporation senior behavioral scientist and sleep expert Dr. Wendy Troxel agreed that nightmares, along with feeling “chronically vigilant” and experiencing flashbacks, are among the hallmark symptoms of PTSD.
“There’s even some evidence that sleep disturbances can predict the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said in an interview with Fox News Digital.
Troxel led a 2015 RAND Corporation study that found that only 37% of veterans achieve adequate sleep — while more than half reported some sort of sleep disturbance.
“Sleep problems are really debilitating,” she said. “They affect every aspect of your mental and physical well-being.”
“It makes it very hard to perform at your work, particularly among [the] sort of high-demand, high-risk occupations that our military [members are] involved with,” Troxel also said.
Jen Satterly, a St. Louis-based certified health coach and respected authority on PTSD, has worked closely with combat veterans and others who have dealt with PTSD issues.