Quick Facts

    • Sleep disturbances are found in people with all severities of brain injuries and may include:
      • Insomnia, delayed sleep phase syndrome, sleep apnea
      • Excessive daytime drowsiness
      • Restless leg syndrome

What does it
look like?

  • Sleeping a lot more or a lot less than 8 hours per night
  • Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up early
  • Irregular breathing or snoring during sleep
  • Tired and irritable during the day

Possible Causes and Complications

Possible causes:

  • Physical and chemical changes in the brain
  • Changes in the person’s ability to control their breathing
  • Napping and a lack of exercise
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Side effect of medication, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine

Possible complications:

  • Increase in fatigue during the day which may exacerbate symptoms

What can we do?

    • Establish a regular bedtime routine
    • Create a healthy sleep environment by keeping noise and light to a minimum and the room cool and uncluttered
    • Reduce screen time before bed (i.e. TV, iPad, computer, and smartphone)
    • Spend time outside in natural light and exercise daily as tolerated
    • Avoid big meals, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bed
    • Take short rests during the day (no more than 30 min and earlier in the day)
    • Use relaxation techniques to calm the body and mind (e.g. mindfulness, or a warm bath)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to replace advice from a medical doctor. Consult a health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.