New medication being tested aims to help those suffering from PTSD sleep better

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There is a trial of a new medication designed to lessen nightmares and improve sleep for those with PTSD. (WLS)

Of the millions of Americans suffering from PTSD, many are members of the military, some of whom spent months in harm's way only to find they can't return to normal once they return home from service. Now there is a trial of a new medication designed to lessen nightmares and improve sleep for those with PTSD.

"What we call, photographers call, the golden hours," said Ali Bardeguez.

For professional photographer Bardeguez, the hours before dark are the best time of the day. Nighttime, not so much. Nightmares are the norm, not the exception.

"If I've got a lot going on, I'll probably have three in a week," she said.

Staff Sergeant Bardeguez was an active duty Marine from 2006 until 2011. During her two extended deployments she worked in avionics, testing and maintaining navigation systems, and witnessed a lot of injuries. Bardeguez has been back home for seven years and says she still gets edgy out of the blue.

"You drop a pan and you're about to jump out of your skin," Bardeguez said.

Psychiatrist Polina Shats, DO, works with military veterans struggling with PTSD and sleep issues.

"They see a lot of people getting hurt in front of them. There's trauma. There's sexual trauma and there isn't a lot of time to process what they're going through, " Dr. Shats explained.

Researchers are now testing a new treatment: a once a day pill dissolved under the tongue before bedtime, known by its clinical trial number TNX 102 SL. The drug targets sleep disturbances.

Right now, music helps Bardeguez relax, so does her service dog Eva. In fact, Eva is trained to wake Bardeguez when she senses a nightmare starting. Bardeguez says it's important for those with PTSD to have a lot of options.

"It's not one size fits all. Something that works for me might not work for you," Bardeguez.

The drug is in phase three clinical trial, which is the last phase before the FDA considers it for approval.

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