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Original Research Article

Year: 2017 | Month: April | Volume: 7 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 380-387

The Influence of Sleep Disorders and Nightmares on Mental Health: A Study of Former Kurdish Peshmerga in Resettlement Countries

Fatahi N1,2, Krupic F1,3

1Institute of health and care sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
2Department of Radiology, 3Department of Orthopaedics,
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Corresponding Author: Fatahi N


Background: Sleep disorders and nightmares are often rooted in post-traumatic stress and have a significant impact on the quality of mental health. There is an obvious relationship between war trauma and a higher frequency of nightmares and insomnia symptoms.
Aim: To study sleep disorders among former Kurdish Peshmerga (soldiers) and its impact on their mental health.
Material and Methods: Five focus group interviews were conducted with 24 former Peshmerga in Scandinavian countries, between December 2014 and April 2015. The majority were males (n=19) aged between 32-62 years (M= 51.6 years) but some were females (n=5) aged 41-58 years (M=49.3 years). They had lived in Sweden between 16 and 40 years. A qualitative content analysis method was used for analysis and interpretation of the collected data.
Results: Former Kurdish Peshmerga reported a number of difficulties related to sleep disorders. The impact of insomnia and nightmares on the participants’ mental health was indicated. Difficulty falling asleep and nightmares were two main areas that were mentioned as problematic by the participants. The impact of the sleep disorders in daily life and its impact on psychological health were addressed by the participants in the present study.
Conclusion: Decreased mental health among former Kurdish Peshmerga was related to sleep disorders rooted in post-traumatic stress disorder. Difficulty falling asleep and nightmares negatively affected the participants’ daily lives and their mental health.

Key words: Sleep disorder, mental health war trauma, Kurdish Peshmerga, nightmare

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