A traumatic brain injury can dramatically impact nearly every facet of your life, including sleep. These injuries affect thousands of people every year.  

If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury and have noticed a change in your sleeping patterns, you may have a legal claim for relief. Use our guide below to learn more about the connection between traumatic brain injury and sleep disorders, when you might be entitled to compensation, and how the GJEL accident attorneys can help. 

traumatic brain injury and sleep disorders

An Overview of Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a traumatic brain injury, commonly referred to as TBI, is an injury that affects how the brain works. TBIs can be caused by: 

  • Bumps, blows, or jolts to the head; or 
  • Penetrating injuries, such as from a gunshot, to the head. 

The three primary types of TBI are mild (concussion), moderate, and severe. In 2019, there were more than 220,000 TBI-related hospitalizations in the United States. 

Common Signs of TBI

After sustaining a head injury, it’s essential to be aware of any potential TBI symptoms, especially in the first 24 hours after your injury. Common TBI signs and symptoms include: 

  • Headaches, 
  • Convulsions or seizures, 
  • Blurred vision, 
  • Unequal pupil size, 
  • Nausea and vomiting, 
  • Loss of or change in consciousness, 
  • Memory or concentration problems, 
  • Light-headedness, 
  • Ringing in the ears, 
  • Sensitivity to light or sound, and 
  • Frustration or irritability. 

Many head and brain injuries are not readily visible, frequently making them challenging to detect. Thus, be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the above symptoms after a head injury. 

Can TBI Cause Sleep Apnea? 

Yes, after a traumatic brain injury, many people report symptoms of sleep apnea, showing that there is likely a link between brain damage and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Symptoms of sleep apnea typically include: 

  • Loud snoring, 
  • Gasping for air during sleep,
  • Morning headaches, 
  • Waking up with a dry mouth, and 
  • Difficulty staying asleep. 

If you have noticed these or similar symptoms after a recent head or brain injury, contact a medical professional as soon as practicable, as it may be a sign of something more severe. 

Other Common TBI Sleep Problems

Sleep apnea isn’t the only sleep-related problem that can arise after a traumatic brain injury. In fact, studies show that sleep disturbance following TBIs affects anywhere between 30 and 70% of individuals. One particular study of a group of 57 patients with TBIs documented sleep disorders in 39% of subjects. 

In addition to sleep apnea, other commonly reported TBI sleep problems include: 

  • Insomnia, 
  • Fatigue, 
  • Difficulty waking up from sleep, 
  • Sleepiness, 
  • Narcolepsy, 
  • Changes in sleeping patterns, 
  • Periodic limb movement disorder, and 
  • Parasomnias. 

These and other TBI sleep problems can lead to even more concerns. For example, insufficient sleep can increase a person’s risk of developing severe medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This means that it’s imperative you take action to address any sleep problems that you may have developed after your TBI. Doing so right away will help you avoid further health issues arising down the road. 

How Long Can Sleep Issues with a Concussion Last? 

It’s true that concussions can often be less severe than other TBIs. But a concussion is a head injury that can have lasting impacts. After a concussion, many people report excessive sleepiness, particularly in the first week following the injury. However, those symptoms tend to change slightly in the following weeks. Two to three weeks after sustaining a concussion, some individuals may be more likely to report early morning awakenings and increased difficulty falling asleep. 

The persistence of sleep problems in an individual after a concussion varies widely from person to person and depends on the particular type of sleep problem reported. For example, complaints of insomnia after a concussion have been reported to persist anywhere from a few weeks to several years after the initial injury. In another study, 67% of patients showed signs of excessive sleepiness 18 months after the underlying head injury. 

Can I Pursue Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injury and Sleep Disorders?

Developing a sleep disorder can be devastating. However, when your sleep disorder is caused by the wrongful or negligent actions of another, this can make matters feel even worse. 

While there’s nothing you can do to bypass the road to recovery after your TBI, there are options available to you to help you move forward. 

Through a personal injury action, you can hold the at-fault party responsible for their actions and obtain valuable compensation to help you on your pathway toward rehabilitation. Examples of damages after suffering TBI-related sleep disorders to which you may be entitled include compensation for: 

  • Past and future medical expenses, 
  • Rehabilitation costs,
  • Lost wages,
  • Loss in earning capacity, 
  • Emotional distress, 
  • Mental anguish, 
  • Pain and suffering, and 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. 

Moving forward in the aftermath of your TBI is never easy, but having the right team in your corner can make all the difference.  

GJEL: Your Trusted TBI Sleep Disorder Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you or a loved one suffered from a TBI-related sleep disorder at the hands of someone else? If so, our team of personal injury attorneys is standing by and ready to help. 

For more than 40 years, GJEL Accident Attorneys has helped injury victims throughout California as they face some of the most painful and difficult times in their lives. We have a 99% success rate and have recovered more than $950,000,000 in well-deserved compensation for our clients in need. We are confident that we have the skills, resources, and expertise necessary to effectively fight for your rights. If you’re looking for a firm with an undisputed record of success, look no further than GJEL Accident Attorneys. If we can’t help you, we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. Give our team a call for your free consultation and see how we can help you get started today.

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