Polysomnographic sleep is not clinically impaired in Vietnam combat veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder

Thomas D. Hurwitz, Mark W. Mahowald, Michael A Kuskowski, Brian Engdahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Background: Because sleep is typically disturbed in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this study was undertaken to evaluate a group of Vietnam combat veterans with the disorder using clinical polysomnographic techniques. Methods: Eighteen Vietnam combat veterans with PTSD and 10 healthy non- combat-exposed Vietnam era veterans participated in 2 nights of polysomnographic study and a multiple sleep latency test. Results: No significant differences between subjects and controls were noted except for greater sleep onset latency to stage 2 (p < .03), and lower arousals/hour from stages 3 and 4 (p < .04) on night 2, and lower subjectively estimated total sleep time on night 1 (p < .005) in that case of PTSD subjects. Otherwise, results from the second night served to replicate those from the first, and no significant differences appeared on 2 successive nights for any polysomnographic variable. No daytime hypersomnolence was detected. Conclusions: Polysomnographically recorded sleep was notably better than expected in the presence of clinically significant PTSD with typical histories of disrupted sleep. In these subjects, there is no clinically significant sleep disorder or typical pattern of sleep disturbance detectable by standard polysomnography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1073
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 1998


  • Polysomnography
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Sleep
  • Vietnam combat veterans

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Polysomnographic sleep is not clinically impaired in Vietnam combat veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this