Sleep disorders in children with traumatic brain injury: a case of serious neglect
Gregory Stores

Sleep disturbance seems to be common among children who have brain damage caused by traumatic head injury. This is likely to make effects on learning and behaviour worse but may be overlooked.
The disturbed sleep can consist of insomnia, excessive sleepiness, and unusual behaviour and experiences at night. Fatigue might also be a problem. Causes contributing to the sleep problems can be the brain damage itself, coexisting physical disorders such as headache or epilepsy, and psychiatric complications including personality change or depression. Some medications can disturb sleep and parents’ ability to promote good sleep habits may be impaired by anxiety or distress.
The sleep of children with traumatic brain injury should be routinely assessed repeatedly as the nature of the sleep disturbance might change with time. Precise diagnosis of any sleep disorder is essential to guide choice of treatment. Further carefully conducted research is much needed.
Mac Keith Press publishes Clinics in Developmental Medicine