Research Reports - Sleep difficulties one year following mild traumatic brain injury

Sleep Med. 2015 Aug;16(8):926-32. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2015.04.013. Epub 2015 May
15.

Theadom A(1), Cropley M(2), Parmar P(3), Barker-Collo S(4), Starkey N(5), Jones
K(3), Feigin VL(3); BIONIC Research Group.

Collaborators: Feigin V, Theadom A, Jones K, McPherson K, Jones A, Ao BT, Brown
P, Fairbairn-Dunlop P, Kydd R, Barber P, Parag V, Ameratunga S, Barker-Collo S,
Starkey N, Dowell T, Kahan M, Christey G, Hardaker N.

BACKGROUND: Sleep quality affects all aspects of daily functioning, and it is
vital for facilitating recovery from illness and injury. Sleep commonly becomes
disrupted following moderate to severe brain injury, yet little is known about
the prevalence of sleep disruption over time and how it impacts on recovery
following mild injury.
METHODS: This was a longitudinal study of 346 adults who experienced a mild brain
injury (aged ≥16 years) identified within a population-based incidence sample in
New Zealand. The prevalence of sleep difficulties was assessed at baseline
(within two weeks), one, six and 12 months, alongside other key outcomes.
RESULTS: One year post injury, 41.4% of people were identified as having
clinically significant sleep difficulties, with 21.0% at a level indicative of
insomnia. Poor sleep quality at baseline was significantly predictive of poorer
post-concussion symptoms, mood, community integration, and cognitive ability one
year post injury. The prevalence of insomnia following mild traumatic brain
injury (TBI) was more than three times the rate found in the general population.
Of those completing a sleep assessment at six and 12 months, 44.9% of the sample
showed improvements in sleep quality, 16.2% remained stable, and 38.9% worsened.
CONCLUSIONS: Screening for sleep difficulties should occur routinely following a
mild brain injury to identify adults potentially at risk of poor recovery.
Interventions to improve sleep are needed to facilitate recovery from injury, and
to prevent persistent sleep difficulties emerging. 

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