Injury, Sleep, and Functional Outcome in Hospital Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury

J Neurosci Nurs. 2019 Jun;51(3):134-141. doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000441.


Problem: Uninterrupted nighttime sleep is associated with better cognition and functional outcomes in healthy adults, but the relationship between sleep and functional outcome in individuals hospitalized with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains to be clarified.

Objective: The aims of this study were to (1) describe nighttime rest-activity variables-wake bouts (counts), total wake time (minutes), and sleep efficiency (SE) (percentage; time asleep/time in bed)-in people on a neuroscience step-down unit (NSDU) post-TBI and (2) describe the association between injury and nighttime rest-activity on post-TBI functional outcome (using Functional Independence Measure [FIM] at discharge from inpatient care).

Methods: This study is a cross-sectional, descriptive pilot study. We recruited participants from the NSDU (n = 17 [age: mean (SD), 63.4 (17.9)]; 82% male, 94% white) who wore wrist actigraphy (source of nighttime rest-activity variables) for up to 5 nights. For injury variables, we used Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score and Injury Severity Score (ISS). We used Spearman ρ and regression to measure associations.

Results: Glasgow Coma Scale mean (SD) score was 8.8 (4.9), ISS mean (SD) score was 23.6 (6.7), and FIM mean (SD) score was 48 (14.5). Averages of nighttime rest-activity variables (8 PM-7 AM) were as follows: SE, 73% (SD, 16); wake bouts, 41 counts (SD, 18); total wake time, 74 minutes (SD, 47). Correlations showed significance between FIM and GCS (P = .005) and between SE and GCS (P = .015). GCS was the only statistically significant variable associated with FIM (P = .013); we eliminated other variables from the model as nonsignificant (P > .10). Sleep efficiency and FIM association was nonsignificant (P = .40). In a separate model (ISS, GCS, and SE [dependent variable]), GCS was significant (P = .04), but ISS was not (P = .25).

Conclusion: Patients with severe TBI on the NSDU have poor actigraphic sleep at night. GCS has a stronger association to functional outcome than nighttime rest-activity variables.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score*
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sleep / physiology*