It used to be that doctors would tell you to keep people awake with head injuries. That has changed, quite a bit. Keeping someone awake might be indicated for a possible brain bleed, but concussions need the sleep and recovery time.
Sleeping is first. If you’re not sleeping, forget it,” said Cara Camiolo Reddy, the co-director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute brain program and the medical adviser to the Sports Medicine concussion program. Sleep is vital in the recovery process because the injured brain needs rest to begin to heal itself. The concussion program and Camiolo prescribe medications, however, only to post-concussion syndrome sufferers who are three weeks or longer into their injury.
This quote was from and article by Chuck Finder of Scrips Howard News Services and appeared on NewsChief.com today.
In the article you will find that this prescription is not widely accepted by the community that deals with concussion management. However in my experience it is vital to let the brain rest. When I am debriefing with the athlete and their parents, the most often question I get is “can you sleep too much?”. My answer is no. To make the parents feel better I have them arouse the concussed individual at infrequent rates to observe their arousal response. I also have the parents ask the three words that we asked the person to remember right after the concussion episode.
With our experience at our school, the kids and parents that abided by the recommendations of sleep and complete brain rest have recovered at a much quicker rate. The kids and parents that did not listen are still dealing with symptoms and have yet to be cleared.
I know that is not a research study in its most proper form, but the observational evidence tells us, and those in the above article that sleep is indeed needed.