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REM Sleep Bout Duration and Frequency in PTSD

Ulmer CS, Sutherland M, Edinger JD, Davidson J, Connor KM, Zhang W, Krystal A. REM Sleep Bout Duration and Frequency in PTSD. Journal of aggression, maltreatment & trauma. 2012 Jan 18; 21(1):67-76.

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The few pharmacological treatments shown to be effective in reducing sleep disturbance in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might work through normalization of rapid eye movement (REM). However, evidence of REM sleep disturbance in PTSD has been inconsistent and the definition of REM bout has varied as well. In this study, we compared polysomnographic findings in adults with PTSD to both normal sleepers and insomniacs. We found no differences between those with and without PTSD on REM bout frequency or duration. We did, however, find gender differences within our PTSD sample as consistent with a previous review suggesting that males with PTSD are more likely to demonstrate REM sleep disturbance. Consensus on REM bout definition is needed, in addition to studies powered to detect gender differences.

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