July 18, 2012 —
Science Daily/American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Sleep deprivation in the first few hours after exposure to a significantly stressful threat actually reduces the risk of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to a study by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Tel Aviv University.
The new study was published in the international scientific journal, Neuropsychopharmacology. It revealed in a series of experiments that sleep deprivation of approximately six hours immediately after exposure to a traumatic event reduces the development of post trauma-like behavioral responses. As a result, sleep deprivation the first hours after stress exposure might represent a simple, yet effective, intervention for PTSD.
"Often those close to someone exposed to a traumatic event, including medical teams, seek to relieve the distress and assume that it would be best if they could rest and "sleep on it," says Prof. Cohen. "Since memory is a significant component in the development of post-traumatic symptoms, we decided to examine the various effects of sleep deprivation immediately after exposure to trauma."