Deterioro del sueño en refugiados con diagnóstico del trastorno de estrés postraumático: Un estudio polisomnográfico y de autorreporte

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Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the clinical manifestation of traumatic events and is associated with sleep disturbances. Sleep disturbances, if left untreated, may perpetuate or even worsen symptoms of PTSD. Previous studies of other PTSD populations show a higher incidence of sleep impairments and sleep disorders compared to healthy controls (HCs); however, this has never been investigated in trauma-affected refugees diagnosed with PTSD.

Objectives: To examine subjective sleep quality, measure sleep architecture, and identify latent sleep disorders in refugees diagnosed with PTSD compared to HCs.

Method: This comparative study included 20 trauma-affected refugees diagnosed with PTSD and 20 HC matched on age, sex, and body mass index. All participants completed self-report questionnaires assessing sleep quality, insomnia severity, and disturbing nocturnal behaviour, and all took part in a one-night polysomnography (PSG) assessment.

Results: Patients reported significantly poorer subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, and sleep efficiency compared to HCs. Subjective reports on hours spent in bed were not significantly different between patients and HCs. Patients reported significantly higher nightmare frequency and severity compared to HCs. PSG measures showed that patients had significantly reduced sleep efficiency, more awakenings, and longer REM sleep latency, and spent more time awake, whereas there was no significant differences regarding total time in bed, total sleep time, or sleep latency. The prevalence of sleep disorders was equal between groups.

Conclusions: The study identified significant impairments in several sleep domains, with a preponderance of disturbed regulation of sleep resulting in awakenings. These results indicate a need for more focus on hyperarousal and nightmares as key elements of disturbed sleep in PTSD. Furthermore, the study identified a discrepancy between subjective and objective measures concerning total sleep time, raising questions regarding the causes of ‘sleep state misperception’.

Trial registration: identifier: NCT03535636..

Trial registration: Sleep Impairments in Refugees Diagnosed with PTSD (PSG-PTSD). URL: NCT03535636. Date of registration: 24/05/2018.
Bidragets oversatte titelSleep impairments in refugees diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder: a polysomnographic and self-report study
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal [grant number I7-L-0213]; Aase og Ejnar Danielsens Fond [grant number 10-002198]; Lundbeck Foundation. The authors would like to thank all participants for making the study possible. Thanks to the staff of CTP for their support throughout the inclusion period and a big thank you to Danish Centre for Sleep Medicine for making equipment available for sleep assessment. Furthermore, thanks to neurophysiology assistants Christine Rehder Christensen and Hüseyin Aydin from DCSM for technical support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Polysomnography, post-traumatic stress disorder, refugees, sleep disturbances, sleep quality, trauma

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