24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825

Sleep Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Sleepless Nights, Unhealthy Hearts?Curbing Sleep Apnea Might Mean Fewer Night Trips to BathroomHealth Tip: Slipping Back Into SleepPast Prescribing Behavior Predicts Choice of Insomnia RxWhat Guides Docs' Sleeping Pill Picks? 'Same Old Same Old,' Study SaysSkimp on Sleep and You Just May Wind Up SickSleepless Nights Linked to Asthma Later in LifeThe ABCs of Good ZzzzzsLevel 3 Polysomnography Data Noninferior for OSAJury Still Out on Whether to Screen All Adults for Sleep ApneaHealth Tip: 5 Things to Help You Sleep SoundlyMany Misuse OTC Sleep Aids: SurveyHomeless, And Often Sleepless TooHealth Tip: Struggling in the Morning?VA ECHO Program Feasible for Management of Sleep DisordersStudy Finds Genetic Link Between Sleep Problems and ObesityStudy Sees Link Between Insomnia, AsthmaWeb-Based Help for Insomnia Shows PromiseHealth Tip: When Sleep is InterruptedCPAP Improves Asthma Control, QoL for Adults With Asthma, OSASleep Apnea May Boost Risk for Post-Op ProblemsHome-Based CBT Program for Sleep Feasible in PregnancyHealth Tip: Making the Transition to SleepSleep Troubles, Heart Troubles?Why Some Women Find Good Sleep Tough to GetSleep Apnea Diagnoses Up Among Outpatients From 1993 to 2010For Those With Sleep Apnea, Maybe It's Time for a Driving TestMouse Study Suggests Brain Circuit Involved in Sleep-Wake CycleRisk of Cardiovascular Events Not Reduced With CPAP UseNighttime Sleep Disturbance Common in Chronic PainResistant Hypertension Linked to Increased Risk of Sleep ApneaDrowsy Driving Causes 1 in 5 Fatal Crashes: ReportStudy Links Sleep Problems to Stroke Risk, RecoveryHealth Tip: Considering a Sleep Study?Sleep Disorders 6 Times Higher Among VeteransHealth Tip: Exercise for Better SleepSleep Apnea Tied to Complications After AngioplastyUSPSTF Finds Evidence Lacking for Sleep Apnea ScreeningShift Work 'Unwinds' Body Clock, May Lead to More Severe StrokeShift Workers at Greater Risk of Heart Ills, Study SaysYoung Children With Sleep Apnea May Face Learning Difficulties: StudySevere, Untreated Sleep Apnea Linked to Aggressive MelanomaSleep Apnea May Raise Heart Risks in People With PacemakersDesperate for Shut-Eye?New Six-Item Scale Predicts Sleep Apnea in ChildrenSleep Doesn't Come Easy to Those With Brain InjuriesAssociated Professional Sleep Societies, June 5-9, 2010
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Mental Disorders

Sleep Doesn't Come Easy to Those With Brain Injuries

HealthDay News
by By Steven ReinbergHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Apr 27th 2016

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, April 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Many people who suffer a traumatic brain injury struggle with sleep problems they may not be aware of, Swiss researchers report.

These patients also can suffer daytime sleepiness for as long as 18 months after their injury, the small study found.

And these sleep problems may adversely affect daytime performance at work or school, the researchers said.

"Sleep-wake disorders are highly prevalent after traumatic brain injury of any severity but are difficult to diagnose because many affected patients are unaware of their disorder," said lead researcher Dr. Lukas Imbach.

It's not known why sleep problems in traumatic brain injury patients are underestimated, he said.

Every year in the United States, 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury, and evidence suggests that number is rising worldwide, the researchers said.

Sleep problems are known to be related to mood changes and depression, and also to learning and memory difficulties, said Imbach, who's with the department of neurology at University Hospital Zurich.

"A link between these neuropsychiatric problems and sleep disturbances after traumatic brain injury is absolutely possible, although our study did not test this hypothesis," he noted.

This study provides evidence that sleep-wake disturbances after traumatic brain injury persist over a long period of time, Imbach said, but they are neglected by the majority of affected patients.

"Therefore, we believe that our observations are important for any clinicians and neurologists involved in the management of [brain] trauma patients," he said.

The report was published April 27 in the journal Neurology.

For the study, Imbach and his colleagues followed 31 people for 18 months who had experienced a first traumatic brain injury. Their injuries ranged from mild to severe. The researchers compared these patients with 42 healthy people.

Imbach's team found that 67 percent of the brain-injured patients suffered from excessive daytime sleepiness, compared with 19 percent of healthy people. In addition, when asked about sleepiness during the day, people with a brain injury said they didn't feel any sleepier than those without a brain injury.

People with mild traumatic brain injury were as likely to have sleep problems as people with severe brain injury, Imbach said. No other medical conditions accounted for these sleep problems, he said.

The researchers also found that brain-injured patients needed an average of eight hours of sleep a night, compared with healthy people, who needed an average of seven hours of sleep each night.

Dr. Brian Edlow is a member of the neurocritical care staff at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "Doctors who take care of patients with post-traumatic sleep disorders often rely on patients to report their own symptoms when deciding whether to perform a formal diagnostic sleep study," said Edlow, who co-authored an accompanying journal editorial.

"However, if patients are not recognizing their own sleep disorders or their own daytime sleepiness, we as clinicians need to rethink our approach to the assessment and diagnosis of post-traumatic sleep disorders," he said.

Earlier studies have suggested that as many as 50 percent of patients with traumatic brain injury experience sleep disturbances or daytime sleepiness. And, since many of these patients may not recognize their own symptoms, the fundamental question is whether all patients with traumatic brain injury should be tested for sleep problems, Edlow said.

Additional studies are needed to establish the link between sleep-wake disturbances and impaired daytime performance at work or school, which is the most important indicator of how these disturbances are affecting a patient's quality of life, Edlow said.

More information

Visit the Brainline.org for more on traumatic brain injuries.