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Teenage Boy Sleeping

Concussion Care: Sleep Vital to Healing

By Rose Schirle, PT, DPT, vestibular and concussion program coordinator, CHKD Sports Medicine

School-aged children need from eight to 11 hours of shuteye depending on their age. Unfortunately, many of our patients admit to getting less than six hours of sleep on average. Homework, playing sports, video games, smartphones, and watching TV are the usual culprits. While it’s always important for children to get adequate sleep for healthy development, it’s imperative if they have a concussion.

After a concussion, the brain goes through an “energy crisis,” often using more energy than normal. As a result, children may feel extra tired. When it’s time to go to bed at night, however, we frequently hear that patients cannot fall asleep or stay asleep and that they nap right after school.

One of the best ways to improve a child’s sleep habits is to set a routine and stick to it. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. It also involves a “prep” time, which should occur about 30 minutes before bedtime. Make sure your child’s electronics are off and the lights are dim. It’s OK to play some white noise in the background.

Remember, do not allow your child to take any naps during the day. The goal is to allow the body to be tired at night so that it can fall asleep. Napping during the day, even if your child feels very tired after school, gets in the way of this and can lead to further sleep issues.

Getting enough sleep each night and following medical instructions after a concussion can help manage post-concussion symptoms and prepare your child to return to school and sports.

Learn more about CHKD’s sports concussion program.

About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.