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Have you ever noticed how your body craves sleep after a long day, hard workout, or stressful event? This is because your body is doing what it can to heal itself: sleep. While you sleep, your breathing slows down, blood pressure drops, and your muscles relax. Sounds good, right? Combine this with your muscles and tissue being repaired while you’re unconscious and it’s one of the most important things we can do for our bodies.

Sleep impacts our ability to learn, our health and safety, and our quality of life; it affects us mentally, physically, and emotionally. The benefits of a good night’s sleep are seemingly endless! It should come as no surprise, then, that after a traumatic brain injury or surgery, rest and sleep are key to your healing process.

It’s pretty accurate to assume that you’ll need more sleep after you’ve undergone a brain surgery. Even if it was a simple surgery or mild brain injury, getting enough sleep will be vital; however, it won’t always be easy to get the sleep your body wants after your surgery.

There can be various things that impede you from getting the sleep you want:

  • Your brain may struggle to make or use the natural chemicals that help you fall or stay asleep.
  • Your breathing, dreaming, or leg movements could be affected by your brain injury. All of these things could make it harder to fall or stay asleep.
  • Some medicines’ side effects can negatively affect your ability to sleep. You could discuss this with your doctor.

Studies have linked the recovery of cognitive function with sleep-wake cycles in patients who are recovering from traumatic brain injuries. Sleep is so essential to restore body and brain functions, and normal sleep patterns should reappear as your body gets healthier (and your body will get healthier as you’re able to sleep more regularly). So if you’re having problems with falling asleep after your injury, try following these tips:

  • Talk with your doctor and see if he or she recommends medicine to help regulate your sleep patterns.
  • If you exercise regularly then your body should be more willing to rest at night when you’re trying to sleep.
  • Decreasing screen time has been known to improve recovery of brain injury patients, so try and eliminate the screen whenever you can.
  • Don’t take naps during the day. Try going for a walk or doing one of your hobbies instead. When you do nap during the day, avoid naps longer than 20 minutes.
  • Have a consistent bedtime. This will lead to your body knowing what to expect and getting used to the schedule.

These are just some tips to improve your sleep schedule, which is essential after a brain surgery. If these aren’t working, try speaking with your doctor or trying other sleep-improvement advice. Painting can also benefit the brain immensely, so maybe try to take up a new hobby after your surgery! There are lots of different ways to help your brain after an injury or surgery, so check back here for more resources!

ACRM is a fantastic network in the medical field. Share your knowledge, network with other medical professionals, and meet fellow rehabilitation researchers with ACRM today!