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Brain trauma and sleep problems: traumatic brain injury can result in sleep problems, including narcolepsy.(case report)

Sleep Review

March 1, 2007 | Jiva, Taj M. | Copyright


A myriad of sleep problems have been associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI), including sleep initiating and maintenance insomnia, a lack of restorative sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). There are forms of narcolepsy that can occur due to trauma to the brain, but they are much less common than typical narcolepsy. Mild head trauma may produce sleepiness not associated with REM sleep phenomena such as cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations--a condition known as posttraumatic hypersomnia. The following case involving a 14-year-old girl illustrates the relationship between TBI and sleep problems.


Every 21 seconds someone in the United States suffers a TBI. A TBI is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or by a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in TBI. Of the 1.4 million people who sustain a TBI each year in the United States, 50,000 die, 235,000 are hospitalized, and 1.1 million are treated at an emergency department. Among children, TBI results in an estimated 2,685 deaths, 37,000 hospitalizations, and 435,000 emergency visits annually. (1) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5. …  Please refer to Sleep Review Magazine for further details.

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