Sleep disturbances in traumatic brain injury: A meta-analysis

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Study Objectives: Sleep disturbances are frequently reported following traumatic brain injury (TBI); however, the exact disturbances remain unclear. This meta-analysis aimed to characterize sleep disturbance in community dwelling patients with TBI as compared to controls. Methods: Two investigators independently conducted a systematic search of multiple electronic databases from inception to May 27, 2015. Studies were selected if they compared sleep in community dwelling individuals with TBI relative to a control population without head injury. Data were pooled in metaanalysis with outcomes expressed as the standard mean difference (SMD) and 95 confidence interval (CI). The primary outcomes were derived from polysomnography and secondary outcomes were derived from subjective sleep measures. Results: Sixteen studies were included, combining 637 TBI patients and 567 controls, all of whom were community dwelling. Pooled polysomnography data revealed that TBI patients had poorer sleep efficiency (SMD = -0.47, CI: -0.89, -0.06), shorter total sleep duration (SMD = -0.37, CI: -0.59, -0.16), and greater wake after sleep onset time (SMD = 0.60, CI: 0.33, 0.87). Although sleep architecture was similar between the groups, a trend suggested that TBI patients may spend less time in REM sleep (SMD = -0.22, CI: -0.45, 0.01). Consistent with polysomnographic derangement, TBI patients reported greater subjective sleepiness and poorer perceived sleep quality. Conclusions: The evidence suggests that TBI is associated with widespread objective and subjective sleep deficits. The present results highlight the need for physicians to monitor and address sleep deficits following TBI
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • traumatic brain injury
  • TBI
  • sleep
  • brain injury
  • polysomnography

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