For many years, conventional wisdom held that people with concussions shouldn’t go to sleep or that they should be awakened every hour. Luckily, we now know these views to be myths. However, in a recent survey of U.S. adults, only about half knew that a person does not need to stay awake for 24 hours after a concussion.* Clearly, some myth dispelling is still needed here.
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Sleep and Concussion Management
“Sleeping through the night is okay once you’ve been evaluated by a medical professional,” says Michael “Micky” Collins, PhD, an internationally renowned expert in concussion and the director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. “If you’ve had a CT scan that is normal and you’re lucid, then it’s perfectly ok to go to bed that night.”
While sleeping after a concussion is ok, you have to get the right diagnosis first. That’s why it’s important that you see a medical professional if you’ve experienced a force to the body or the head and you’ve got a headache; are feeling nauseous, dizzy, or confused; or if you’ve had a change in mental status. You might have a concussion.
According to statistics collected by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, there are between 1.7 and 3 million sports- and recreation-related concussions in the U.S. each year—and half of all concussions go unreported or undetected. So, make sure to get checked for a concussion.
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Sleep to Speed Recovery
“After concussion is diagnosed, getting adequate rest and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is an important part of the recovery process,” says Dr. Collins. “Sleep helps the brain recover and helps you feel well when you wake up. Having a good routine for sleep, or what is called sleep hygiene, can be very helpful in getting the most restorative-quality sleep to speed your recovery.”
For cleaning up your sleep hygiene, follow these tips for better sleep. For more information about the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program and its comprehensive approach to concussion diagnosis, management, and rehabilitation, visit our website or call us at 412-432-3681 for an appointment.
*According to an online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of UPMC in 2015 among 2,012 U.S. adults age 18 or older, 948 of whom were parents.
Rethink Concussion article repurposing, interview with Micky Collins and UPMC's own study conducted by Harris Polls.
About Sports Medicine
Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.