TBI and Restorative Sleep
Inadequate, or lack of, restorative sleep is probably the number one health problem in the country today. The reasons vary from excess stress, social networking, improper diet, and inability to quiet the mind. For most people, to deal with the excessive fatigue, they drink beverages that contain excessive caffeine, such as Red Bull, or lots of Starbucks coffee. Lack of sleep causes problems with concentration, memory, efficiency, accuracy, mood, motor movement, and behavior – not to mention your sex life.
Now, all of this is for a person without a brain injury. If you have a TBI, Post Concussive Syndrome, Stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or MS, you have already encountered problems with concentration, memory, word finding, feelings of anxiety or depression. The number one symptom, which is covered in the first chapter of my book, “Coping with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury”, is fatigue.
Combine the issues of daily stressors, plus the TBI, and you have the core problem…the need for restorative sleep. Your brain is not going to repair itself if you do not get restorative sleep.
What is restorative sleep? It is when the brain slows down all peripheral functions, such as your body temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate, so that the brain can repair itself and the entire system. If you are thinking, moving or anxious, this process cannot occur.
I view the process as similar to repairing a bridge; you need to close-off or slow down traffic to allow for repair of the bridge. If you always have traffic flowing, you cannot adequately repair the bridge fully. You need to dream to allow the traffic to flow, yet to shut down or slow down the traffic to repair the brain. This is true regardless of a brain injury. Since your brain has been injured, it is imperative that you get restorative sleep.
So, how do you accomplish this? First, do not have a large meal for dinner. Do not exercise after 7pm. Do NOT pay your bills before bedtime. Set a specific time for bed and do NOT have the TV or other noise around you. Reduce, or eliminate, caffeine from your diet. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy Sleep aid really works. Also, the use of a CES machine, (see my self help section.) This is an FDA approve method for helping with sleep, anxiety and depression. Hypnosis is also very effective. Water treatments or sound machines also work well. Lastly, neurofeedback has been extremely effective in help retrain the brain to have restorative sleep.
Have a restful, restorative sleep and repair your brain.