Stress-induced alterations in sleep have been linked to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sleep complaints and disturbances in arousal are continuing symptoms in patients. PTSD-related changes in sleep have not been fully characterized but involve persistent disturbances in both rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) and non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS). PTSD is considered a disorder of the fear circuitry, which includes the amygdala, dorsal anterior cingulate, hippocampus, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Currently, several animal models are used to examine the underlying neurobiology of PTSD; however, sleep has been characterized in only a limited number of models. Intense conditioned fear training, which may best model PTSD in rodents, can produce reductions in REMS as well as alterations in NREMS that may vary with mouse and rat strains. The amygdala, a central region in current concepts of PTSD, plays significant roles in regulating the stress response and changes in stress-induced alterations in arousal and sleep. This chapter reviews sleep-related findings in patients with PTSD and in animal experimental paradigms currently utilized to model the disorder, as well as the neurobiology that has been linked to disturbed sleep in PTSD. It will also discuss the impact of PTSD treatments on sleep disturbances.
Part of the book: A Multidimensional Approach to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder