Concussion: Sleeping habits after a brain injury
If your child is experiencing common sleep-related symptoms after a concussion, such as sleeping more than normal, sleeping less than normal, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep or drowsiness, here are some sleep hygiene tips to help take care of your child during this time.
If you find that your child needs to see a brain injury specialist, our team is here to help. Please call us or make an appointment online.
Tips for sleeping after a concussion
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. This may include a warm bath or shower, aromatherapy, reading or listening to soothing music.
- Create a quiet, comfortable environment for sleeping. Use their bedroom only for sleeping. Avoid watching tv, computer/tablet use, and work while in bed.
- Be comfortable and relaxed before getting into bed. Replace uncomfortable pillows, mattresses, blankets and pajamas. If they are too hot or too cold, adjust the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.
- Understand how much sleep you need. Most individuals need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise regularly finishing a few hours prior to bedtime. Avoid exercising immediately prior to bedtime.
- Share beds with pets or children. Sleeping with children or pets frequently results in having less sleep overall. The sleep they may get will typically be more disrupted throughout the night as well.
- Eat a meal immediately before bedtime. Finish meals 2-3 hours prior to their regular bedtime.
- Consume caffeine immediately before bedtime. Avoid caffeine within 6 hours of going to sleep.
- Nap frequently throughout the day
- Stay in bed if you can’t fall asleep. After 10-15 minutes of not being able to fall asleep, go to another room to read or watch tv until you are sleepy. Try to keep lights dim so your child doesn't awaken further.
Is it safe to sleep after a brain injury?
It is a common misconception that a person with a brain injury should not go to sleep and/or needs to be awakened throughout the night. Sleep is safe after injury.
Can lack of sleep make my child’s other symptoms worse?
Lack of sleep can make your child feel tired, irritable, can affect their memory and make them more prone to develop headaches. All of these symptoms are commonly seen with both brain injuries and insomnia. When an individual has both a concussion and sleep problems at the same time these symptoms may become worse than if only one of these.
Is it normal for my child’s sleeping patterns to change after a concussion?
Up to 80% of people who sustain a mild traumatic brain injury will report some type of sleep disruption after injury.