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Sleep Early After Trauma


Azza, Yasmine; Wilhelm, Ines; Kleim, Birgit (2020). Sleep Early After Trauma. European Psychologist, 25(4):239-251.

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by intrusive re-experiencing of emotional memories of a traumatic event. Such memories are formed after exposure to trauma in the context of a cascading stress response including high levels of emotional arousal and stress hormone release. Sleep could be a key modulator of early memory formation and re-consolidation processes. Initial studies have investigated this association in this early time period, that is, hours and days after trauma exposure, and its role in modulating trauma memories and PTSD. The time is thus ripe to integrate findings from these studies. The current review consolidated evidence from five experimental and seven naturalistic studies on the association between trauma, sleep, and the development of intrusive emotional memories and PTSD, respectively. Together, the studies point to a potential protective role of sleep after trauma for the development of intrusive memories and PTSD. Findings regarding key sleep architecture features are more mixed and require additional investigation. The findings are important for prevention and intervention science.

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by intrusive re-experiencing of emotional memories of a traumatic event. Such memories are formed after exposure to trauma in the context of a cascading stress response including high levels of emotional arousal and stress hormone release. Sleep could be a key modulator of early memory formation and re-consolidation processes. Initial studies have investigated this association in this early time period, that is, hours and days after trauma exposure, and its role in modulating trauma memories and PTSD. The time is thus ripe to integrate findings from these studies. The current review consolidated evidence from five experimental and seven naturalistic studies on the association between trauma, sleep, and the development of intrusive emotional memories and PTSD, respectively. Together, the studies point to a potential protective role of sleep after trauma for the development of intrusive memories and PTSD. Findings regarding key sleep architecture features are more mixed and require additional investigation. The findings are important for prevention and intervention science.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous), General Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 October 2020
Deposited On:03 Feb 2021 12:24
Last Modified:04 Feb 2021 21:01
Publisher:Hogrefe & Huber
ISSN:1016-9040
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040/a000401

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