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Poor Sleep Lowers Activity Level of Those With PTSD

Poor Sleep Lowers Activity Level of Those With PTSD

A new study suggests that compromised sleep quality as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead to a reduction in physical activity.

Limited physical activity, in turn, is linked to negative health outcomes such as obesity.

“We found that sleep quality was more strongly associated with physical activity one year later than was having a diagnosis of PTSD,” said lead author Lisa Talbot, Ph.D. “The longitudinal aspect of this study suggests that sleep may influence physical activity.”

In other words, people are more apt to be physically active after a good night’s sleep.

Study results are published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

“This study adds to the literature that shows that better sleep leads to healthier levels of exercise, and previous research has shown that better sleep leads to healthier food choices,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler.

“It is clear that healthy sleep is an essential ingredient in the recipe for a healthy life.”

The study involved data from the Mind Your Heart Study, a prospective cohort study of 736 outpatients recruited from two Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers.

PTSD was assessed with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS).

At baseline participants rated their sleep quality overall during the last month, and at baseline and again one year later they reported how physically active they have been during the last month. Of the 736 military veteran participants, 258 had current or subsyndromal PTSD.

According to Talbot, the results suggest that behavioral interventions to increase physical activity should include an assessment for sleep disturbance.

“The findings also tentatively raise the possibility that sleep problems could affect individuals’ willingness or ability to implement physical activity behavioral interventions,” she said.

“Sleep improvements might encourage exercise participation.”

According to the National Center for PTSD of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD symptoms such as nightmares or flashbacks usually start soon after a traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later.

Symptoms that last longer than four weeks, cause great distress or interfere with daily life may be a sign of PTSD.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Poor Sleep Lowers Activity Level of Those With PTSD

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Poor Sleep Lowers Activity Level of Those With PTSD. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/07/17/poor-sleep-lowers-activity-level-of-those-with-ptsd/72592.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.