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

Person with Head Pain in Bed
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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