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'Sleeping on it' may not be best after traumatic event

11:00am Thursday 2nd July 2015 content supplied byNHS Choices

The results of the study are not conclusive enough to advise that staying awake after trauma will reduce the chance of PTSD, whether with people or alone. Further studies along this line would be required before official advice could be changed.

It is normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but in most people these will improve naturally over a few weeks.

You should visit your GP if you or your child are still having problems about four weeks after a traumatic experience, or if the symptoms are particularly troublesome. Read more about post-traumatic stress disorder.

Summary

"Staying awake may be the best way to stop disturbing flashbacks," the Daily Mail reports. A psychological experiment carried out at Oxford University suggests that sleep may actually help embed traumatic events in the memory.

Links to Headlines

Why sleeping on it WON'T help you forget a trauma: Staying awake may be the best way to stop disturbing flashbacks. Daily Mail, July 1 2015

Sleeping is not the best remedy for psychological trauma - and could actually cause flashbacks. Daily Mirror, July 1 2015

Sleep deprivation could prevent traumatic memories and flashbacks. The Daily Telegraph, July 1 2015

Links to Science

Porcheret K, Holmes EA, Goodwin GM, et al. Psychological Effect of an Analogue Traumatic Event Reduced by Sleep Deprivation. Sleep. Published online July 1 2015

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