It has long been thought that a person with a concussion should not sleep because they might slip into a coma or lose consciousness. Through research and the expertise of UAMS doctors such as Dr. Alice Alexander, a primary care doctor in our Internal Medicine Clinic, we now know that there is no need to make a patient with a concussion stay awake.
Sleeping after a concussion
If the person who is injured is awake and holding a conversation, you can let him or her fall asleep as long as they are not developing any other symptoms such as dilated pupils or issues with walking. “Usually after a concussion, a person may be dazed or may vomit,” explains Dr. Alexander. “For children, we advise parents to wake up the child a couple times during the night to make sure they are able to be aroused.”
Dr. Alexander says that a concussion is a head injury that sometimes involves loss of consciousness but is not associated with internal bleeding. Unless a doctor says the person needs further treatment, the injured person should sleep and rest.
A concussion can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Most concussed people recover quickly and can be treated at home, while others have symptoms that last for days or weeks and need medical attention.