Sleeping is Good

21 Oct

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 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.

3 Responses to “Sleeping is Good”

  1. Ann Engelland, MD October 20, 2012 at 11:43 #

    Your website is terrific. As a pediatrician, school and college physician, I have been compelled to write a book easily accessible to all as an eBook or print on demand through Barnes and Noble, and other venues. It’s All In Your Head: Everyone’s Guide to Managing Concussions helps to reinforce exactly what you say: The Four Rs: Recognize, Respond, Rest, and Reassess on the road to full recovery.

    I invite you to link to my site and hope we can collaborate moving forward. Bravo for your excellent work.

    Ann Engelland, MD

  2. Phil Colwell May 13, 2015 at 09:03 #

    funny how things change. in 1981 when i was concussed in Winnepeg i was instructed by the team doctor to stay awake all night. bad advice ???

  3. firstfloorluka July 19, 2015 at 02:47 #

    After my serious brain injury in 1991. I spent about 6 months either in coffee shops staring or on a friends floor sleeping or in my bed. without the wisdom of a friend who let me fall asleep and stay asleep, one who did not even know my pre-level functioning, who never judged me as lazy. I would have never made a comeback. I owe much to him.

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