Sleeping After a Concussion: Is it Safe?
Concussions happen when there is blunt-force trauma to the head. It might be caused by moving objects hitting your head with a hard impact, or it could be caused by falling down and hitting your head hard on the floor. It is also common in vehicular accidents as the head usually makes an impact on the windshield or any hard objects. When this happens, your brain, which is made from soft and spongy material, will bash into the inner part of the skull thereby causing injury. The degree of concussion will greatly vary depending on how hard the impact is and how bruised the brain is due to the impact.
One of the many concerns of people who have suffered a concussion, be it mild or severe, is the fact that they might fall into a coma if they fall asleep too soon after the incident. Though regarded as a common folklore, there is, in fact, truth to this matter. Most people who have experienced minor concussions and who do not show signs of brain trauma are advised to stay awake for 2 hours to 24 hours depending on the severity of the hit. Most of the time the doctor will instruct the person to have somebody accompany him during sleep for as long as 48 hours after the incident since there are possibilities of late reactions to trauma. When this happens, only the person accompanying the victim will be able to pinpoint certain differences to his general condition. A person may need to be awakened as much as every hour to make sure he is okay and not slip into a coma.
Here are the common signs of what to watch out for if looking for the possibility of a concussion:
● Vacant stare – person involved may have a blank stare. Looking at something but never actually seeing anything. It may be likened to people who are in shock.
● Slow verbal responses – together with slow motor reflexes is a classic telltale sign that the brain is indeed affected by the blow.
● Disorientation – the person may largely be disoriented, not knowing what happened and which way to go; he may not even know what the next thing to do is but would like to move anyway.
● Loss of consciousness – May be a sign of severe concussion especially if the person will remain unconscious for a prolonged period of time.
● Nausea, vomiting – another common sign of head concussion is vomiting once or twice after the incident. Although this is a common occurrence, repeated and long-lasting vomiting and dizziness might indicate an underlying severe condition thus a visit to the doctor is mandatory.
When should a person be admitted?
Most mild concussions will only require a significant amount of rest and an ice pack to the head along with a continuous, conscious effort to watch for signs of changes in bodily functions. However, when the following signs are shown, then it is urgent to get medical help immediately for these signs usually indicate severe head trauma and possible brain damage:
● If the reason for the concussion is not known – in cases like accidents, you might see a person already suffering from a concussion when you get there, and there is no sign of telling what happened or how hard the impact was as well as what caused the concussion. To make sure, a visit to the doctor is the priority.
● Mental instability – if the person is showing mental confusion in judgment and in speech.
● Seizure – mild concussions do not show signs of seizures but a severe concussion does.
● Persistent vomiting – vomiting once or twice after the incident is regarded as normal, but if it goes beyond that, serious problems may be present.
● Prolonged state of consciousness.
● Severe headache.
● Signs of skull fracture.
Sleeping after a concussion is acceptable as long as you have somebody at your side to check every now and then for signs and changes. Plenty of rest is needed to recover fully, and sleeping is one way of attaining that rest. Inasmuch as you need to sleep, you therefore need somebody to make sure you do not fall into a coma.