Researchers from Monash University find Patients with Traumatic Brain Injuries at Higher Risk for Insomnia

A squad of researchers from Monash University's School of Psychology and Psychiatry calculated in a laboratory location the sleep patterns of 23 patients with Traumatic Brain Injury with 23 fit people, who did not suffer from trauma.

Study leader, Associate Professor, Shantha Rajaratnam stated that patients with TBI demonstrated raised sleep disturbance and reported inferior sleep quality and raised anxiety and depression symptoms than healthy volunteers.

Associate Professor said that the results are of the suggestion that TBI might disturb the brain structures that help in maintaining sleep patterns, which includes the production of melatonin.

People with traumatic brain injuries may produce reduced amounts of melatonin, causing sleep problems, a new study suggests.

Australian researchers performed sleep research experiments using 23 patients who had suffered traumatic brain injury an average of 14 months earlier, and a control group of 23 healthy people who spent two nights in a sleep laboratory.

A new study using polysomnography confirms sleep disturbances in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), including increased wake after sleep onset (WASO) and reduced sleep efficiency, an average of 14 months after their injury compared with healthy control subjects.

Other findings, including reduced evening melatonin production in these patients, as well as increased levels of depression and anxiety, may be contributing to these problems. Slow-wave sleep was also higher in patients with TBI vs healthy controls after controlling for depression.

The researchers, with senior corresponding author Shantha M. W. Rajaratnam, PhD, from the School of Psychology and Psychiatry at Monash University in Australia, propose that depression may be affecting the sleep quality, but the increased slow-wave sleep they observed may be due to the mechanical effects of the brain damage.

Researchers in Australia have gained insight into why brain injuries are associated with problems getting a good night's sleep.
A two-day sleep study revealed that people who've had a severe, traumatic brain injury produce lower levels of melatonin – a hormone that regulates biological rhythms, including sleep.
Experts say the next step is to see whether taking melatonin supplements could help.