This article discusses research about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). There have been research studies linking PTSD and OSA, possibly because of OSA-related sleep disruption. In particular, OSA can be more frequent in dream sleep, resulting in more dream sleep fragmentation. This could cause more nightmares, or at possibly more awareness of nightmares. In this study, the authors sought to determine if CPAP therapy for OSA also reduced PTSD severity in US Veterans.
The results showed a modest reduction in PTSD symptoms in patients with OSA treated with CPAP for 6 months. And the more nights someone used their CPAP, the less severe the PTSD symptoms. There were also improvements in sleep quality, daytime functioning, and quality of life.