Research Reports - Sleep difficulties and their impact on recovery following mild traumatic brain injury in children

Brain Inj. 2016 Jul 8:1-6. [Epub ahead of print]

Theadom A(1), Starkey N(2), Jones K(1), Cropley M(3), Parmar P(1), Barker-Collo
S(4), Feigin VL(1).

OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of sleep difficulties in children following
mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) over time and explore the role of sleep on
recovery and behaviour.
METHODS: Longitudinal study of 109 children aged between 8-16 years who had
experienced a mild TBI, with an embedded case control study. Parents completed
assessments of the child's sleep quality, symptoms and behaviour at baseline, 1,
6 and 12 months post-injury. Regression analyses explored the impact of poor
sleep on 12-month outcomes. Healthy control children were assessed at one time
point for comparison to determine the longer-term impact of brain injury on
RESULTS: The number of children experiencing poor sleep quality peaked 1-month
post-injury (39%), reducing to 28% 12-months post-injury. Poor sleep quality at
1-month was associated with increased frequency and severity of symptoms and
poorer behavioural outcomes 1 year post-TBI. Cases with TBI were significantly
more likely to have sleep difficulties 1-year post-injury than controls (Odds
ratio = 3.09).
CONCLUSIONS: Sleep difficulties are common following mild TBI in children and are
predictive of longer-term outcomes. Identifying children with sleep difficulties
post-injury and providing support to facilitate sleep may improve their
longer-term functioning. 

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