Sleep problems after brain injury: where to find help

A major charity has published new guidance on how to identify and treat insomnia and fatigue after suffering a brain injury.

The factsheet, published by Headway, offers information on the types and causes of sleep problems and provides tips and information on seeking professional support.

According to the guidance, a brain injury can impact sleep in several ways. For example, the injury may directly affect the part of the brain that is responsible for sleep, known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), or the basal forebrain, which is involved in sleep initiation.

The hormones involved in regulating sleep cycles may also be affected after an injury to areas of the brain, such as the hypothalamus.

A brain injury may also impact a person psychologically or emotionally, which can cause difficulties with getting to sleep or affect sleep quality.

After identifying sleep problems, the guidance provides advice on how or where to get help. GPs, neurologists, mental health professionals, sleep clinics, sleep diaries, and sleeping apps could all help someone with a brain injury overcome a sleeping problem.

The factsheet forms part of Headway’s comprehensive resource library, which provides information and advice on topics ranging from employment and education to family issues and relationships.

Commenting on the new guidance, Publications and Research Manager, Tamsin Keyes, said fatigue and insomnia are some of the most commonly experienced side effects of brain injury.

“There’s a whole range of different impacts on sleep following brain injury, from insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness, to disturbing dreams and sleep related breathing disorders,” she said.

“In our new factsheet, we cover some of these issues and offer information on how to address them, including seeking professional support from a range of services.”

Click here to access the factsheet.

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Posted in Brain Injury.