Movement during sleep: Associations with posttraumatic stress disorder, nightmares, and comorbid panic disorder

Steven H. Woodward, Gregory A. Leskin, Javaid Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: To corroborate findings from the National Comorbidy study with objective sleep data. Design: Retrospective data review. Setting: Sleep Laboratory, National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Participants: Male Vietnam combat veteran. Interventions: N/A Measurements and Results: We reanalyzed laboratory sleep data obtained from subjects undergoing inpatient treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. Comorbid panic disorder was not associated with a significant worsening of objective sleep in this sample. Posttraumatic stress disorder, comorbid panic disorder, and trauma-related nightmare complaint were all associated with significant and systematic reductions of sleep movement time. Analyses of potential "rescoring" artifacts provided further support for this effect. Conclusions: A curvilinear function may describe the relationship between anxiety symptom severity and sleep-movement time in both posttraumatic stress disorder and panic disorder. Evidence for movement suppression in association with pathologic levels of human anxiety is consistent with the suppression of movement ("freezing") exhibited by animals under conditions of perceived threat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-688
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes



  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Traumatic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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