PTSD may worsen your sleep quality, causing you to feel tired and sleep excessively.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect many aspects of your life, including your sleep. Some people with PTSD might experience hypersomnia, which is where you feel sleepy despite getting enough sleep. As a result, you might sleep excessively.

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, more than 70% of people with PTSD report having sleep disturbances. This can include excessive sleep, insomnia, nightmares, and more.

There are a few ways to treat sleep disturbances in PTSD, including medication and talk therapy. You might also find it helpful to engage in certain sleep hygiene habits to promote more restful sleep.

Yes, PTSD can cause excessive sleep.

A 2019 twin study found that people with severe PTSD symptoms tended to sleep significantly more or less than average.

PTSD may cause hypersomnia, also known as excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

In one 2017 paper, a doctor describes five participants with PTSD who experienced recurring hypersomnia. These patients reported sleeping for 12–16 hours and having daytime naps lasting 2–3 hours, but still feeling tired.

The author explained that autonomic dysregulation might explain the link between PTSD and excessive sleep. This is where your autonomic nervous system — which controls your body’s response to stress — is not functioning correctly.

Your sympathetic nervous system is continuously activated, meaning that you’re constantly in “flight or fight” mode. As a result, you might always feel tired.

It’s not clear why some people sleep more after trauma. There could be a number of explanations.

PTSD is has a strong link with sleep disturbances, including nightmares and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Sleep apnea is also more common among people with PTSD.

All of these sleep disturbances can lead to lower sleep quality. Because this sleep might not feel restorative, it can lead to daytime sleepiness. You might sleep a lot but not feel well rested after sleeping.

Additionally, trauma can contribute to the development of depressive disorders. There’s a strong link between depression and sleep disturbances.

Beyond excessive sleeping, PTSD is associated with:

Restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, sleep talking, and sleepwalking are also associated with PTSD. However, these symptoms are not as common and are not always directly linked to PTSD.

If you’re experiencing poor sleep, or if you’re sleeping too much or too little, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional.

Can PTSD cause sleep paralysis?

Yes. According to research, PTSD may lead to sleep paralysis. This is where your muscles temporarily stop functioning while you’re sleeping or just as you wake. As a result, you might realize you’re sleeping but struggle to move, speak, or fully wake up.

With sleep paralysis, you may experience hypnopompic hallucinations (which occur as you wake up) or hypnagogic hallucinations (which occur as you fall asleep). This happens when you’re somewhere between dreaming and being fully awake.

These hallucinations may be scary or upsetting. For example, you might think that there’s someone in your room or that someone is trying to hurt you. You might even feel like you’re being hurt or pushed down.

According to the National Center for PTSD, sleep disturbances may make daytime PTSD symptoms worse. This is why it’s particularly important to get treatment for PTSD-related sleep problems.

Your treatment plan may include PTSD treatment, as well as treatment for your specific sleep disorder.

PTSD treatments may include:

Sleep disorder treatments may include:

Certain self-care habits might also help you sleep better. Practicing good sleep hygiene can help you sleep better and prevent your sleep issues from becoming worse.

Good sleep hygiene habits include:

  • keeping a consistent sleep schedule by getting into bed around the same time every night
  • creating a relaxing bedtime routine
  • avoiding blue light through electronic devices like your phone
  • avoiding stimulating content before bed (like high-energy music, exciting video games, or thrilling books)
  • getting natural light during the day, which helps regulate your sleep cycle
  • exercising during the day
  • making your bedroom comfy by using cozy bedding, keeping the room temperature cool, and using soft lighting
  • avoiding caffeine before bed and limiting alcohol
  • trying a weighted blanket

You might have to take a multi-pronged approach, treating your PTSD and sleep disturbances while implementing healthy sleep habits, for best results.

PTSD can lead to excessive sleep in some people. The condition is associated with a variety of sleep issues, including insomnia, nightmares, sleep apnea, and more.

If you’re finding it hard to get restful, restorative sleep, or if you find yourself sleeping excessively and feeling tired during the daytime, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional. They might suggest a treatment plan as well as healthy sleep habits that you can try at home.