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Victor G. Carrión

, John A. Turner

, and Carl F. Weems

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date: 06 June 2020

The architecture of healthy sleep rests upon a network of several interacting neurochemical systems, an arrangement that is easily disrupted by the experience of traumatic stress. As a result, sleep may be among the most susceptible of behaviors to have a negative impact as a result of trauma. Sleep disturbances, or “parasomnias,” such as nightmares, sleepwalking, and insomnia are one of the most prominent hallmarks of PTSD, and the study of these sleep-specific symptoms can provide a window into the underlying pathology of the disorder. The current chapter reviews the preclinical animal literature that has informed our understanding of the brain structures that are involved in the development of these parasomnias. In reviewing adult and child studies of disrupted sleep in PTSD, a distinction is made between the subjective and objective assessment of sleep quality, with a call made for an emphasis on objective measurements in future research.

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