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Behav Res Ther. 2007 Mar;45(3):627-32. Epub 2006 Jun 14.

Effects of a brief behavioral treatment for PTSD-related sleep disturbances: a pilot study.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA.



Sleep disturbances are a core feature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and are often resistant to first-line pharmacological and psychological PTSD interventions. The goal of this pilot study was to explore the effects of a very brief intervention for PTSD-related nightmares and insomnia in victims of violent crimes with PTSD.


Seven adult victims of violent crimes with a current diagnosis of PTSD received a single, 90-min intervention session that used cognitive-behavioral techniques aimed at reducing post-traumatic nightmares and insomnia. Sleep diary measures, and measures of sleep quality, PTSD severity, anxiety, and depression were completed at baseline and 6 weeks post-intervention.


Improvements in self-report and sleep diary measures of sleep quality and dream frequency were observed post-intervention. Clinically meaningful reductions in daytime PTSD symptom severity were also observed.


A very brief behavioral intervention targeting post-traumatic nightmares and insomnia was associated with significant improvements in sleep and daytime PTSD symptom severity. Brief sleep-focused intervention may be helpful adjuncts to first-line PTSD treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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