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Sleep Problems Linger After Head Injury

Over a period of 18 months, the study participants reported their sleep patterns. For two weeks during the study, the participants also wore devices that tracked their body movements. And for one night, the individuals slept in a lab where researchers monitored the subjects’ brain activity and other body functions during sleep.

Overall, the people with TBI seemed to require more sleep than the uninjured subjects  — an average of 8 hours per night, 1 hour more than subjects who were injury-free, according to the findings.

The study also found that 67 percent of the people with TBI described feeling sleepy during the day, whereas only 19 percent of the healthy participants reported excessive daytime sleepiness.

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This investigation builds upon the results of many previous studies in recent years showing that people with TBI experience sleep problems, said the study’s lead author Dr. Lukas Imbach, a senior physician and neurologist at the University Hospital Zurich.

“But the severity, incidence and cause for [sleep] disorders was poorly understood,” Imbach added. The new investigation is the longest prospective study about sleep quality and TBI done to date, he said.

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