Big Kid

Good Sleep Quality Encourages Better Recovery After Sport-Related Concussions

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boy with concussion

Image: iStock / KatarzynaBialasiewicz

When you have kids who play sports (or just play rough!), there’s a chance you’ll be dealing with a concussion at some point. They’re very common in a lot of sports. There are certain steps you should take if you suspect your child has sustained a concussion. But for the majority of head injuries that result in concussion, treatment is just rest and activity restriction. It’s so important to allow their brains time to recover. A new study is highlighting just how important rest and good sleep quality is after a concussion. Researchers have found that getting good quality sleep after a sports-related concussion aids in the recovery process. Good information for parents everywhere, for sure!

New research shows that good sleep quality can help kids recover from concussions more quickly.

Researchers at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children studied data from four different outpatient clinics in Texas that specialize in treating concussions. They looked at records from 356 young athletes under the age of 19. These athletes sustained a concussion between October 2015 and June 2017. They asked the athletes to complete a commonly used sleep questionnaire, in order to determine their sleep quality. A score of five or less meant the athlete had good sleep quality. A score of six or more meant their sleep quality was poor.

The athletes who scored five or less generally saw complete resolution of concussion symptoms within two weeks.

Those athletes who reported poor sleep quality with a score of six or more experienced lingering symptoms, often times for a month or longer. Both groups did improve over time. However, the athletes with poorer sleep quality reported two times greater severity of symptoms at their initial visit, and three times greater at their 3-month follow-up visit.

Jane S. Chung, MD, FAAP, is the primary author of the abstract and a sports medicine physician at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Chung says, “The importance of good sleep quality is often underestimated in young athletes. Sleep is not only important for physical, mental, and cognitive well-being, but also seems to play a pivotal role in the recovery of the brain following a sport-related concussion.” Those involved in the study hope that this data encourages doctors to inquire about sleep quality after a patient presents with a concussion. Additionally, they’re hoping that this study emphasizes the importance of encouraging good sleep quality. Doctors will also hopefully be able to identify athletes with poorer sleep quality who may be at risk for a longer recovery.