The Risk of Sleep Disorder Among Persons With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Sleep disorders are one of the most common and persistent complications that patients may experience following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). However, sleep disturbances are often undiagnosed in these patients, who may suffer from sleep deprivation a year or more post-TBI.

A recent review examined a broad pool of data from post-TBI individuals to determine risk factors for sleep disturbances. Researchers found that:
  • An individual’s unique neural organization and genetic makeup may affect the likelihood of experiencing sleep disorders after a TBI.
  • Females with mTBI may be more sensitive to prolonged sleep disturbance than males.
  • Older patients with mTBI experience sleep disorders for a longer time and at a higher rate than younger patients.
  • In children, mTBI is a risk factor for sleep disturbance, while moderate/severe TBI is not.
Although sleep disturbances are a common and often long-lasting complication following TBI, clinicians often overlook them when diagnosing patients. Due to the prevalence of TBI-related sleep disorders, knowledge of risk factors and early detection are crucial, as well-rested patients recover faster and more fully.

Source: Mollayeva T, Mollayeva S, Colantonio A. The risk of sleep disorder among persons with mild traumatic brain injury. Current Neurological and Neuroscience Reports. (2016).

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