Treating PTSD Sleep Disorders


New York City, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Of the millions of Americans suffering from PTSD, many are members of the military, some of whom spent months in harm’s way only to find they can’t return to normal once they return home from service. Now there is a trial of a new medication designed to lessen nightmares and improve sleep for those with PTSD.

“What we call, photographers call, the golden hours,” said Ali Bardeguez.

For professional photographer Bardeguez, the hours before dark are the best time of the day.  Nighttime, not so much. Nightmares are the norm, not the exception.

She explained, “If I’ve got a lot going on, I’ll probably have three in a week.”

Staff Sergeant Bardeguez was an active duty Marine from 2006 until 2011. During her two extended deployments she worked in avionics, testing and maintaining navigation systems, and witnessed a lot of injuries.  Bardeguez has been back home for seven years and says she still gets edgy out of the blue.

“You drop a pan and you’re about to jump out of your skin,” Bardeguez shared.

Psychiatrist Polina Shats, DO, works with military veterans struggling with PTSD and sleep issues.

“They see a lot of people getting hurt in front of them. There’s trauma. There’s sexual trauma and there isn’t a lot of time to process what they’re going through, ” Dr. Shats explained. (Read Full Interview)

Researchers are now testing a new treatment: a once a day pill dissolved under the tongue before bedtime, known by its clinical trial number TNX 102 SL. The drug targets sleep disturbances.

Right now, music helps Bardeguez relax, so does her service dog Eva. In fact, Eva is trained to wake Bardeguez when she senses a nightmare starting.  Bardeguez says it’s important for those with PTSD to have a lot of options.

Bardeguez explained, “It’s not one size fits all. Something that works for me might not work for you.”

The drug is in phase three clinical trial, which is the last phase before the FDA considers it for approval. For more information, visit WWW.THEHONORSTUDY.COM


Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Field and Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Dave Harrison, Editor.

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BACKGROUND: PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, but most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time. There are four types of symptoms of PTSD, but they may not be exactly the same for everyone.  The first is reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms). This includes bad memories or nightmares or feeling like you’re going through the event again. This is called a flashback. The other three types of symptoms are avoiding situations that remind you of the event, having more negative beliefs and feelings, and feeling keyed up.



TREATMENT: Effective treatments for PTSD include different types of psychotherapy (talk therapy) or medication. Trauma-focused psychotherapies are the most highly recommended type of treatment for PTSD. “Trauma-focused” means that the treatment focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning. These treatments use different techniques to help you process your traumatic experience. Some involve visualizing, talking, or thinking about the traumatic memory. Others focus on changing unhelpful beliefs about the trauma. They usually last about eight to 16 sessions. Medications that have been shown to be helpful in treating PTSD symptoms are some of the same medications also used for symptoms of depression and anxiety. These are antidepressant medications called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs and SNRIs affect the level of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain called serotonin and norepinephrine.



PTSD AND SLEEP: Some of the reasons why a soldier returning home from active duty may struggle with sleep as the result of active PTSD are remaining on high alert, processing anxiety, or self-medicating. One of the most common problems with PTSD is frequent nightmares. It leads to sleep fragmentation, excessive daytime sleepiness, and, potentially, chronic insomnia and sleep deprivation, which only worsens any underlying emotional problems.




Scott Stachowiak, PR


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Polina Shats, DO

Read the entire Q&A