Sleep disturbance in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) : a systematic review and meta-analysis of actigraphy studies

Background: Sleep disturbance has been described as a ‘hallmark’ symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although there are robust findings of self-reported sleep disturbance in PTSD, evidence of sleep disturbance measured using actigraphy is less certain.

Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine whether there are any significant differences between individuals with and without PTSD in actigraphderived sleep measures.

Method: Case-control studies comparing participants with current PTSD to those without PTSD were eligible for inclusion. Sleep parameters of interest were: (1) total sleep time; (2) sleep onset latency; (3) wake after sleep onset (WASO); and (4) sleep efficiency. Data were meta-analysed as standardised mean differences (SMDs) and potential sources of heterogeneity were explored through meta-regression. Six actigraphy studies with 405 participants were included.

Results: There was no evidence of a statistically significant difference between those with and without PTSD in total sleep time (SMD 0.09, 95%CI −0.23 to 0.42); WASO (SMD 0.18, 95% CI −0.06 to 0.43); sleep latency (SMD 0.32, 95%CI −0.04 to 0.69); or sleep efficiency (SMD −0.28, 95%CI −0.78 to 0.21).

Conclusions: Further high-quality research is required to determine whether there is a true difference in sleep between those with and without PTSD.


Catrin Lewis , Katie Lewis , Neil Kitchiner , Samantha Isaac , Ian Jones & Jonathan I. Bisson | 2020
In: European Journal of Psychotraumatology ; ISSN: 2000-8066 | 11 | 1 | 1767349
Adults, Meta Analysis, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (DSM-5), PTSD (en), PTSD (ICD-11), Sleep Disorders, Systematic Review