Sleep Disturbances Following TBI

The first symptom I recognized following our accident and Olivia’s discharge from the rehabilitation hospital was my sleep. I was always exhausted. I never had difficulty falling asleep but had a difficult time waking up. The girls would come in our room to wake me if they had a bad dream, or had difficulty sleeping and they would poke me over and over. I would not stir. They would give up and walk over to Mike’s side of the bed. After a month I became concerned and made an appointment with my general practitioner.

I am one of the lucky ones because the nurse practitioner recognized my symptoms and referred me to a nueropsychologist. I eventually received a diagnosis of Post Concussion Syndrome. After seeing a number of doctors, I was referred to a sleep specialist who ordered a sleep study. He cautioned me that most sleep studies do not result in a diagnosis. Surprisingly, I was diagnosed with both sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

I later learned these and other sleep disturbances are quite common after a brain injury. The attached article illustrates why it is so important to look at a patient’s sleep cycles following brain injury. Most of us can agree that when sleep deprived we are quick to anger, make rash judgments, have difficulty focusing, and experience other health issues.

A restful sleep will not cure all our ailments but can certainly assist in dealing with all of life’s stressors.