Children With Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Have Poor Sleep Quality Interview with:
Kimberly Allen PhD, RN Assistant Professor
Center dr-kimberly-allenfor Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research
Department Women Children and Family Health Science
Chicago, IL 60612

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Allen: Pediatric traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.Each year in the United States over 1Ž2 million children are admitted to the hospital for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Depending on the severity of the injury and how the individual child responds to the primary injury, a range of medical care may be necessary from an overnight hospital admission for observation to admission in the intensive care unit (ICU) and inpatient rehabilitation facility to re-teach and help to recover skills children once knew. The short- and long-term consequences of traumatic brain injuries include: motor and sensory impairments; cognitive, emotional, psychosocial impairments; headaches, and sleep disruptions.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Allen: The main finding from this pilot study with two groups with 15 children in each group: one of children with traumatic brain injuries and one of typically, developing healthy children was that children with traumatic brain injuries have significantly more daytime sleepiness and worse sleep quality compared to the control group. Additionally, children with TBI also had lower overall  functional scores (e.g, school, social) compared to the controlled children. All of the surveys were completed by the child’s parent.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Allen: This study has a small number of children and must be interrupted with caution. We can recommend that clinicians continue asking questions about sleep to this population, as we continue to explore who is most a risk and eventually determine if treatment is necessary.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Allen: Future research needs to identify the trajectory to the sleep symptoms in larger populations, and determine if severity and other medical factors effect sleep problems. Additionally, more objectively and subjective data are need in conduction to determine the whole picture of what changes are necessary for the child and family.


SLEEP 2015 abstract: June 2015

Allen K, et al “Sleep after pediatric traumatic brain injury: a survey study” SLEEP 2015; Abstract 1050.




Kimberly Allen PhD, RN Assistant Professor, Center dr-kimberly-allenfor Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research, Department Women Children and Family Health Science, & Chicago, IL 60612 (2015). Children With Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Have Poor Sleep Quality

Last Updated on June 14, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD