Without a doubt, a concussion affects your child’s ability to sleep. But, How a Concussion Might Affect Your Child’s Sleep?
One of the most typical concussion symptoms is changes in sleep patterns. Although some kids have trouble falling asleep, many kids sleep more. And between 30 and 70 percent of kids who suffer concussions develop a sleep disorder like insomnia.
Please read on for more detailed information.
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Sleep Symptoms After a Concussion
After a concussion (no matter how mild), your child’s brain must rest to heal. As a result, most children sleep more than usual. They frequently experience hypersomnolence, a condition in which they experience excessive daytime sleepiness. You can let your child sleep as much as they need as long as they’ve been examined.
Children should typically stay home from school because they not only need to sleep but also because doing so limits all of their cognitive and physical activities. Activities can be gradually resumed as they begin to feel better, but rushing the process prevents the brain from fully recovering.
Despite their need for rest, some kids have trouble falling asleep after a concussion and frequently develop insomnia. Children with insomnia have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep all night. They frequently wake up early and have trouble falling back asleep.
Stress or anxiety from a brain injury may cause insomnia. The production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, may be affected by chemical and structural changes in the brain, which may also be the cause. Their regular sleep-wake cycle is impacted by the disruption of melatonin.
Sleep Disorders Caused by a Concussion
Although they are rare after a concussion, sleep disorders (other than excessive sleepiness and insomnia) can happen.
A concussion can harm any of the brain regions that are involved in regulating sleep because they all work together to do so. The area that is hurt determines how your child’s sleep changes and what kind of disorder they might get.
The sleep disorders occasionally diagnosed after a concussion include:
Parasomnias are unusual behaviors that occur while your child sleeps, such as:
- Sleepwalking (children may seem to be awake but aren’t)
- Sleep talking (ranges from saying a few words to having a conversation while sleeping)
- Sleep terrors (children express extreme fear or panic and can’t wake up)
- REM behavior disorder (children move while sleeping and may act out their dreams)
Sometimes kids seem to wake up, but they’re confused, unresponsive, or disoriented. They are not awake, which leads to this issue, confusional arousal.
When your child briefly stops breathing while they are sleeping, they develop sleep apnea. Their brain gently jolts them awake each time they stop breathing, just enough for them to resume breathing. They aren’t awakened, but the process keeps them from falling asleep.
Bedwetting, loud snoring, restless sleep (tossing and turning), agitation, and hyperactivity may all be present.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) or periodic leg movement disorder (PLMD) in children is a possibility. Leg movements during sleep that are repetitive and uncontrollable are a symptom of PLMD.
While trying to fall asleep, RLS also makes you feel the uncontrollable urge to move your legs, along with other uncomfortable and strange sensations in your legs. Both conditions disrupt sleep and cause insomnia or daytime sleepiness.
Call THINK Neurology for Kids or make an online appointment if you have any concerns about your child’s concussion (or if you’re unsure if they have one).
Concussion Myths That Could Hurt Your Child
You Shouldn’t Let Your Child Sleep After a Head Injury
While keeping a younger child or toddler awake might be necessary, it usually isn’t necessary for an older child or teenager who can communicate what is happening. Consult a doctor if you think your child may have suffered a concussion so they can examine them. They can then advise you on the best course of action, which is likely to involve getting lots of rest. “Sleep is extremely beneficial to the healing process, especially soon after the injury, and interrupting this rest can make the recovery more difficult,” explains Mark Halstead, MD, a pediatric sports medicine assistant professor at Washington University in Saint Louis.
Helmets Prevent Concussions
It’s always a good idea to wear a helmet when biking or playing sports, but despite manufacturer claims, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that no particular brand of helmet (or mouth guard) reduces the risk of concussions. Because the brain “floats” in fluid in the head, a helmet can’t prevent it from crashing around inside the skull, which is what causes a concussion. However, headgear is still crucial because it’s made to guard against catastrophic injuries like skull fractures and brain bleeding.
The Harder the Blow, the Worse the Concussion Will Be
It’s not always the case that the type of hit your child takes—whether it’s a hard or soft one—determines how severe their concussion will be or how long it will take them to recover. “I’ve seen children who have fallen out of a two-story window and within a few days have fully recovered, while others who have simply been hit with a dodge ball in gym class can take a year to get better,” Dr. Halstead says.
Vomiting is a Sure Sign of a Concussion
Though it can be upsetting to watch your child vomit, a single episode of vomiting does not automatically indicate a concussion. Because they are startled or afraid, some children will vomit. Continued vomiting, however, could be a sign of a more serious injury that necessitates immediate care in an emergency room, according to Dr. Halstead says.
All Concussions Have the Same Clear-cut Symptoms
The most frequently reported symptoms of concussion are headache, confusion, and amnesia, but there are many others, and no two concussions are alike. Sluggishness, irritability, difficulty sleeping or reading are just a few of the symptoms that can be numerous and appear unrelated. If your child has received head trauma, carefully note any unusual behavior and symptoms he may be exhibiting before contacting his doctor.
Football is the Most Common Cause of Youth Concussions
Football tops the list of organized sports for kids between the ages of 12 and 15, but in reality, biking is the leading cause of concussions in children of all ages. According to data from UW Medicine’s Sports Health and Safety Institute and Seattle Children’s Research Institute from December 2018, five out of every 100 players aged five to fourteen experience a concussion during a football season. That’s five percent of all football players in this age group. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, cheerleading and wrestling are the sports with the second and third highest rates of concussions.
Summary: How a Concussion Might Affect Your Child’s Sleep?
After a concussion, no matter how mild, a child’s brain must rest to heal. As a result, most children sleep more than usual. It’s also common for them to feel extremely sleepy during the day, a condition known as narcolepsy. As long as your child has been assessed, it is safe to let them sleep as much as they want.
Thank you for reading.