Study: TBI Affects Children’s Sleep and Impairs Emotional, Physical, Mental Functioning


Children who suffer a blow to the head while playing or during sports might be tempted to “walk it off” – but the effects of even a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be longer-lasting and more impairing than many kids, coaches or parents realize.

That’s according to a new study presented recently at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. It found that children who suffered a concussion were more likely to suffer from poor sleep quality than children who had not experienced a concussion. They were also more likely to be sleepy during the day, which can greatly affect school performance, and they were more likely than their peers to struggle with emotional, physical and mental functioning.

The study found that children with traumatic brain injuries from falls, car crashes or other accidents scored an average of 8.1 on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, compared to an average score of 4.9 in children who did not have TBI. A higher score is correlated to more daytime sleepiness. On the Child Sleep Wake Scale, children with TBIs averaged a score of 3.58 compared to the average of 4.61 among their peers, indicating lower sleep quality among the children with concussions.

Although doctors have long theorized that TBI would affect children’s sleep, the recent studies demonstrate that scientific evidence backs up the theory. They also provide a way to measure just how much a TBI impairs a child’s sleep.

Not only did children with concussions have more trouble sleeping and more sleepiness in the daytime than their peers, but they also had more trouble with motor function, remembering, thinking and controlling their moods – all skills that lack of sleep can impair, and all symptoms of TBI.

Researchers say that more work is needed to determine how much these common emotional, mental and physical impairments result from sleep disruptions and how much they result from the TBI itself. Emotional, mental and physical symptoms may linger for weeks or even months after a TBI, increasing the likelihood of a re-injury and making it crucial for kids to move carefully and rest often.

At Marasco & Nesselbush, we know how devastating the results of a TBI can be for children and adults. That’s why we strive to help others live their best lives after brain trauma.

If your child’s brain injury resulted from someone else’s act of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Working with an experienced attorney will provide you with an advocate who is committed to fighting on your behalf.

The Rhode Island personal injury attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush provide free case reviews to TBI victims and their families. Call us at 401-443-2999 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices located in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.