Researchers believe people that suffer from mild brain injuries might be at increased for sleep disorders.
In the April 3rd issued of Neurology, researchers at the University of California, in San Diego, studied 42 people that complain of insomnia after suffering a mild traumatic brain injury. Of the 42 patients, 15 patients had a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (CRSD) which is a problem with the timing of sleep.
Out of 15 patients with CRSD, eight of them had a “delayed sleep phase syndrome,” including problems falling asleep and waking up. While the other seven patients had irregular sleeping patterns.
These findings help to highlight the need for improved diagnosis and treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders in patients who’ve had a mild brain injury and complain of insomnia.
“Misdiagnosis of these patients as insomniac may lead to prescription of medications, which help people fall asleep but don’t help normalize the sleep-wake cycle,” Ayalon said.
Since circadian rhythm sleep disorders are often associated with cognitive and psychological problems, proper treatment of these disorders may lead to improvements in other brain injury-related symptoms in these patients, the experts said.
“As many as 40 to 65 percent of people with mild traumatic brain injury complain of insomnia. This is concerning, since sleeping problems may exacerbate other brain injury symptoms such as headache, emotional distress, and cognitive impairment, making the rehabilitation process much harder,” Ayalon said.