Can You Sleep with a Concussion?

Concussion, a type of mild traumatic brain injury, can occur due to a bump or blow to the head, causing an altered mental state and a range of physical symptoms. One of the most common concerns among people who have had a concussion is whether it is safe to sleep. In this article, we will analyze the research, personal accounts, prevention and recovery measures, do’s and don’ts, treatment options, and symptom-focused approaches, to better understand the relationship between concussion and sleep.

Effects of Concussion on Sleep Patterns

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussion may lead to changes in sleep patterns, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, excessive sleepiness, or insomnia. The impact of concussion on sleep may be worse in the first three days following the injury, but some people continue to experience sleep problems for weeks or even months after the initial incident.

Although the reasons for this effect are not fully understood, some theories suggest that concussion may disrupt the body’s natural production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Additionally, the injury may cause other physical or psychological disturbances, such as pain, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, that interfere with normal sleep patterns.

So, is it safe to sleep with concussion? While some people may worry that sleeping after a concussion can exacerbate brain damage, most experts agree that getting adequate rest is essential for recovery. As long as the person does not exhibit severe or increasing symptoms, such as seizures, confusion, vomiting, or severe headache, it is usually safe to go to sleep.

Personal Accounts and Stories

Still, the experience of sleeping with a concussion can be challenging for some people. Personal accounts and stories from others who have had this type of injury suggest that it can lead to insomnia, nightmares, or recurring negative thoughts. For instance, a student-athlete who suffered a concussion from a collision during a football game reported that he had difficulty sleeping due to anxiety about missing classes and falling behind in school. Another person with concussion-related sleep disturbances noted that she would often wake up in the middle of the night feeling disoriented and confused.

These stories highlight the importance of supporting people with concussion by providing them with comfort, reassurance, and a conducive environment for sleep. Some strategies that may help include using white noise or earplugs to block external sounds, avoiding caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, and establishing a regular sleep schedule.

Prevention and Recovery Measures

Preventing concussions is always preferable to dealing with the consequences. Some lifestyle changes and protective equipment can reduce the risk of concussion, especially in sports and high-risk jobs. Wearing helmets, mouthguards, or safety glasses can provide physical protection to the head and face. Avoiding activities that involve high-speed or high-impact collisions, such as football, soccer, hockey, or boxing, can also lower the chance of concussion.

However, accidents do happen, and recovery from concussion can be a slow and challenging process. To facilitate healing and improve sleep quality, people with concussion may benefit from following certain tips, such as avoiding bright lights or loud noises, which can trigger headaches or other symptoms. They can also create a low-stress and relaxing sleep environment by darkening the room, using comfortable bedding and pillows, or diffusing essential oils with calming effects, such as lavender or chamomile.

Do’s and Don’ts of Sleeping After a Concussion

To optimize sleep after a concussion, there are several things that people should and should not do. First, they should try to get enough sleep, even if it means taking naps during the day. Consistency is also crucial, meaning that they should go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Creating a bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or doing relaxation exercises, can signal the body to prepare for sleep.

On the other hand, some behaviors should be avoided, as they can aggravate symptoms or interfere with recovery. For example, drinking alcohol or caffeine can disrupt sleep and dehydrate the body, making it harder to function and heal. Similarly, using electronic devices, such as smartphones or laptops, before bedtime can affect the production of melatonin and impair the quality of sleep.

Treatment Options for Concussion

Severe or persistent symptoms of concussion may require medical intervention beyond self-care measures. Treatment options for concussion may include medication, such as pain relievers or anti-anxiety drugs, as well as physical or cognitive therapy. While some of these treatments have side effects that can affect sleep, such as drowsiness or increased agitation, they are often necessary to manage symptoms and improve functional outcomes.

Symptom-Focused Approaches

Finally, people with concussion can also benefit from symptom-focused approaches that aim to alleviate specific problems related to sleep. For example, they can use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, to reduce stress and anxiety that may interfere with falling asleep or staying asleep. They can also engage in appropriate physical activity, such as low-impact exercises or stretching, to release tension and promote muscle relaxation.

Other strategies that may improve sleep after concussion include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help change negative thought patterns or behaviors that interfere with sleep, or acupuncture, which has been shown to relieve chronic pain and improve sleep quality in some cases. Still, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best approach based on individual needs, circumstances, and preferences.


Concussion and sleep are interconnected issues that require attention and care from both medical professionals and patients themselves. While concussion may disrupt sleep patterns and cause physical and psychological distress, it is generally safe to sleep after the injury, as long as the person does not exhibit severe or worsening symptoms. Improving sleep quality after concussion may involve adopting healthy lifestyle habits, seeking medical treatment if needed, and using symptom-focused approaches, such as relaxation techniques or cognitive therapy. By taking these steps, people with concussion can better manage their sleep and enhance their chances of a full and speedy recovery.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

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