A study published in the journal Neurology asserts that patients who have suffered from traumatic brain injury (TBI) need more hours of sleep in comparison to people who have not suffered from an associated experience.
The results showed that 67 percent of the patients were displaying an abnormal amount of sleepiness when compared to the control subjects, which only displayed a level of 19 percent.
Studying sleep habits on TBI patients
The study was led by University of Zurich’s Lukas Imbach, MD. At first, 140 patients who have suffered from TBI were chosen, but the research team did not consider those participants with diagnosed sleep disorders, substance abuse, neurological diseases or psychiatric illnesses.
31 patients diagnosed with traumatic brain injury from mild to severe. They were observed over the course of 18 months, along a control group comprised of 42 participants.
The hours of sleep were noted down and a scale displaying the level of sleepiness was provided; participants were to state in specific interviews how many hours they slept through the night and how sleepy they felt during the day.
A device was attached to their wrist to measure their movements and they also had to eventually sleep under observation in order to study eye movement, cardiac frequency, and brain activity. The patients were also encouraged to keep a record in personal sleep logs to note down their opinions on their sleeping habits; these logs were used by researchers to have a statement on how the patient perceived its current sleep schedule.
Many of the participants argued that they had no idea their sleep schedule changed after suffering from the traumatic injury. Dr. Imbach commented that “if you ask them, they say they are fine.” He asserted that the patients were surprised with the study’s results.
Traumatic brain injury and sleeping disorders
The traumatic brain injury is able to destroy circuits inside the brain. It is known that the damage caused by these circuits and the impediment of their regular functions is able to cause disorders in sleeping habits. But there are still questions as to why the sleeping disturbances last for such a long time after the injury episode has been surpassed.
TBI is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States, as it accounts for one-third of all the deaths related to injury or trauma; on the other hand, an excessive amount of sleepiness during the day reduces productivity at work or at school, but in severe cases it can lead to potential danger while performing complex motor procedures such as driving or operating heavy machinery.