What are the Guidelines for Sleep After a Concussion?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 08 March 2020
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The guidelines for sleep after a concussion can vary depending on the severity of the concussion, and the recommendation of a doctor. It is important for anyone who has suffered a concussion or suspects that this might be possible, to visit a doctor for an examination as soon as possible. Concussions have the potential to worsen and cause bleeding and swelling in the brain. In general, a person who has suffered a concussion will either need to stay in the hospital overnight or will need someone to watch him or her for the first twelve hours. This means the person will need to be woken up every few hours to be sure the condition is not getting worse, which could indicate a brain bleed.

It is natural and important to want sleep after a concussion. The brain needs to heal, and most doctors will recommend rest as much as possible, and certainly avoiding any further activities that could cause an additional blow to the head. Some doctors may allow patients to take a painkiller such as acetaminophen, though will almost always advise against taking any painkillers that could thin the blood, or increase bleeding, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Never take a painkiller without checking with the doctor first.


The most common guidelines for sleep after a concussion will require a caregiver to wake the patient up every few hours to check for signs that the concussion is getting worse. The caregiver may need to ask questions to assess whether or not the individual seems confused. He or she will also want to make sure that the pupils are equal sizes, and that one does not appear larger than the other. It is also important to make sure the patient does not experience convulsions, seizures, or problems using the arms or legs properly following sleep after a concussion.

The idea of getting sleep after a concussion is to help the individual to heal, and to start feeling better. A person should not develop a worse headache or vomiting after sleeping, which can both indicate that the concussion is worsening. Bleeding from the ears or nose should also not occur. Usually, people will only need to be monitored carefully for 12 to 24 hours after a concussion, but sometimes it takes a few days for symptoms to develop, so it is important to stay alert and aware of the potential symptoms of neurological issues.


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Post 2

I've heard REM sleep is the way the brain re-establishes neural pathways and heals itself. So, I imagine allowing someone as much REM sleep as possible is beneficial.

I know sleep seems to heal a headache like nothing else does, so it seems logical that a sufficient amount of sleep after suffering a concussion would also be very helpful.

People who have had their brains rattled around in their heads probably need to take it easy and get a lot of rest. Too bad the NFL didn't realize that before so many of its players were permanently brain injured.

Post 1

My cousin was in an automobile accident and had a concussion. The ER doctor told my aunt to wake her up every two hours, but once they had determined she was all right, to let her sleep as long as she wanted to.

Sometimes, you have to help someone remember things after they have a concussion, especially after they've been asleep. They may not remember why they're in the hospital or confined to bed -- that kind of thing.

It's been 35 years and my cousin still doesn't remember anything about the day of the accident.

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