Sleep Disturbances Following Traumatic Brain Injury in Older Adults: A Comparison Study

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2020 Jul/Aug;35(4):288-295. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000563.


Objectives: To compare the prevalence of sleep disturbances in older adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) with that of age- and gender-matched controls and to determine the risk factors for post-TBI sleep disturbances and the effects of post-TBI disturbances on quality of life (QOL).

Design: Cross-sectional case-comparison study.

Participants: Eighty older adults (aged ≥65 years) with first-time TBI more than 3 months since injury and 80 older adults controls without TBI who completed sleep and health-related QOL questionnaires.

Results: Older adults with TBI showed a higher prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia, and daytime sleepiness than older adult controls. Being male, having higher levels of depression and pain, and the presence of insomnia were significantly correlated with the risks of OSA, insomnia, and daytime sleepiness following TBI, respectively. Both OSA and insomnia were significantly correlated with low QOL in older adults with TBI.

Conclusions: Sleep disturbances are highly prevalent in older adults with TBI. Gender differences, depression severity, and pain level are correlated with the occurrence of post-TBI sleep disturbances. Both OSA and insomnia are regarded as major contributors to low QOL in older people with TBI. Interventions targeted at post-TBI sleep disturbances may improve QOL of older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / complications
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders*
  • Sleepiness