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Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Lead to Sleep Disorders

Injury Attorneys | Restoring LivesTM

June 28, 2017 | Brain Injuries |

traumatic brain injuries and sleep disorders

It’s not uncommon to have a hard time sleeping after a traumatic brain injury. If you were injured in a serious accident, that anxiety and fear alone could be enough to keep you up at night. However, it could be more serious than stress.

Many parts of the brain control how you sleep and when you wake up. An accident could alter your sleeping patterns and lead to multiple and long-lasting health problems. Documenting and working on treating any of your sleep disturbances is an important step toward recovering and moving forward with your life—and keeping track of this information could help your personal injury attorney build a case for you in the aftermath of an accident.

What Leads to Sleep Problems After a TBI?

Sleep problems are about three times more likely to occur in TBI patients than in the general population. So what causes these problems? It depends on the nature of the injury, but on the whole, sleep disruptions are caused by damage to brain structures that impact sleep, causing them to malfunction.

The damage could be physical or chemical: the brain functions as an internal clock for the body, and an injury could interfere with its ability to send appropriate signals to the rest of the body. An injury to another part of the brain could lead to breathing problems at night, which can lead to sleep apnea.

Some chemicals that the brain produces, like the hormone melatonin, can affect how a patient sleeps. Pain, depression, substances like medication, alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine can all contribute to problems sleeping as well.

Types of Sleep Problems and Syndromes

Patients could experience sleep disruptions no matter where they were injured or how serious their injury was, and not everyone will experience the same symptoms. These are some of the most common disorders and disruptions to sleeping that a patient could experience:

  • Insomnia: a difficulty falling or staying asleep, or feeling inadequately rested after sleep
  • Extreme daytime drowsiness
  • Mixed-up or delayed sleep patterns
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless leg syndrome, which keeps you from resting comfortably
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Sleep apnea
  • Involuntary limb movement during sleep
  • Sleepwalking

Sleep Problem Solutions and Treatments

Our bodies and brains need sleep in order to rest, recharge, and heal, which is especially important in the aftermath of a head injury. Going without enough sleep can decrease energy levels and concentration, as well as worsen depression or anxiety and affect your mood. If you can’t sleep, there are a number of treatments your doctor might recommend.

Depending on the nature of your injury, your doctor could advise you about medications or over-the-counter medicines, some of which can be habit forming. Counseling could help with symptoms of depression and anxiety, and relaxation therapy could have a positive impact as well.

In general, keep a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine,  stay as active as your health permits during the day, try to keep your bedroom a restful and relaxing place, and don’t exercise, eat sugar, drink caffeine, or use nicotine within the five-hour period before you sleep.

Getting treated for sleep disorders could lead to unwanted medical expenses, but a personal injury attorney may be able to fight for a settlement that covers your medical care after your accident.

Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

Any injury to your head will impact your quality of life. Sleep disorders are just one of the many ways that a traumatic brain injury can change your life. If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, there is justice and potential compensation available to you.

For victims in the Indianapolis area, WKW has personal injury lawyers with years of experience in cases like yours. For more information or for a free consultation, contact us online or by phone at 317.920.6400.

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