Prevalence of sleep disturbance in closed head injury patients in a rehabilitation unit

M. J. Makley, J. B. English, D. A. Drubach, A. J. Kreuz, P. A. Celnik, P. M. Tarwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of disability in young people in the United States. Disorders of arousal and attention are common in closed head injury (CHI). Daytime drowsiness impairs participation in rehabilitation, whereas nighttime wakefulness leads to falls and behavioral disturbances. Sleep disturbances in TBI reported in the literature have included excessive daytime somnolence, sleep phase cycle disturbance, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Although well known to the clinician treating these patients, the extent and prevalence of disrupted sleep in patients in an acute inpatient rehabilitation unit has not been described. Objective. To determine the prevalence of sleep wake cycle disturbance (SWCD) in patients with CHI in a TBI rehabilitation unit. Design. Prospective observational. Setting. Inpatient specialized brain injury rehabilitation unit. Patients. Thirty-one consecutive admissions to a brain injury rehabilitation unit with the diagnosis of CHI. Results. Twenty-one patients (68%) had aberrations of nighttime sleep. There was no significant difference in Glasgow Coma Score on admission to trauma nor was there any significant difference in age between the affected and unaffected groups. Patients with SWCD had longer stays in both the trauma center (P <.003) and the rehabilitation center (P <.03). Conclusions. There is a high prevalence of SWCD in CHI patients admitted to a brain injury rehabilitation unit. Patients with SWCD have longer stays in both acute and rehabilitation settings and may be a marker for more severe injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Amnesia
  • Brain injury
  • Circadian disorder
  • Memory
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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