Every year, about 1.4 million people in the United States are diagnosed
with a traumatic brain injury. Concussion or mild TBI is a phenomenon
that affects individuals of many different walks of life. Some people
have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury due to the hazardous nature
of their jobs, some have suffered a concussion due to a sports’
related injury, and others have sustained a TBI from a motor vehicle accident.
Mild TBI has a significant negative impact on functioning. Cognitive deficits
and emotional instability are associated with mild TBI, negatively affecting
one’s ability to return to the pre-existing level of functioning
One of the more prominent and debilitating effects of mild traumatic brain
injury is the decline in cognition. Cognition affects many areas of daily
functioning. The ability to recall and retain information, as well as
the capacity to process information, may be compromised temporarily for
individuals who sustained a mild TBI. The inability to function well in
one’s environment can be a source of frustration that prevents one
from obtaining a speedy recovery.
It has been established that the lack of sleep negatively affects cognitive
performance, specifically reducing attention and memory capabilities.
Attention is built upon several conscious and unconscious actions, such
as vigilance, sustained attention, selective attention, and divided attention.
It has been observed, in research, that sleep deprivation leads to slowed
reaction time and reduces the ability to multi-task or focus. When it
comes to memory, two distinct types of memory are mostly affected by the
lack of sleep caused by a mild TBI: episodic memory and procedural memory.
Episodic memory refers to the capacity to store and retrieve information
associated with time and place. Procedural memory enables retention of
The inability to rest one’s brain due to sleep problems is a significant
contributor to memory problems and a huge source of frustration. Sleep
is crucial to every individual to ensure effective functioning. How much
more essential is sleep for those diagnosed with a mild TBI? Sleep is
critical to brain recovery and effective functioning. Individuals who
suffer a mild TBI should ensure that their brains are well rested by getting
the proper amount of sleep key for recovery.
There is solid research on how the lack of sleep affects one’s functioning
and the ability to function effectively in matters of cognition. Lack
of sleep impacts cognition which directly impact one’s ability to
Given the fact that poor sleep habits can be changed and improvised, sleep
should be a priority in the treatment and recovery of those suffering
from TBI. A nap of about 20 to 30 minutes can reduce fatigue and significantly
improve cognitive performance. Early afternoon is found to be the primordial
time to nap and recharge one’s batteries.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following healthy sleep tips:
- Have a sleep schedule: Maintain the same bedtime and wake-up time throughout the week.
- Exercise daily.
- Have comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Create a soothing room environment with cool temperatures and a place free
from disturbing noises.
- Wind down: The body needs time to shift to sleep mode. Calming oneself
before bedtime by reading and practicing relaxation and meditation techniques.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco products before bedtime, as they can
- Avoid bright lights in the evening, as well as computers and other electronic
devices at bed time.