Objectives: Sleep and vigilance disorders are among the most commonly reported symptoms following a concussion. The aim of the study was thus to investigate the effects of sport-related concussions on subjective and objective sleep quality.
Methods: Ten concussed athletes and 11 non-concussed athletes were included. Concussed athletes had a history of 4.6+/-2.1 concussions with at least one concussion during the last year. They were recorded for two consecutive nights in the laboratory and during a 10-min period of wakefulness. They completed questionnaires related to sleep quality and symptoms as well as neuropsychological tests and the CogSport computer battery.
Results: Concussed athletes reported more symptoms and worse sleep quality than control athletes, but no between-group differences were found on polysomnographic variables or on REM and NREM sleep quantitative EEG variables. However, concussed athletes showed significantly more delta activity and less alpha activity during wakefulness than did control athletes.
Conclusion: In spite of the subjective complaints in sleep quality of concussed athletes, no change was observed in objective sleep characteristics. However, concussions were associated with an increase in delta and a reduction in alpha power in the waking EEG. Sport-related concussions are thus associated with wakefulness problems rather than sleep disturbances.