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Why shouldn’t you go to sleep after a head injury?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | Workplace Injury |

One of the most common pieces of advice given to those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is that they should not go to sleep. Their friends or family members who are with them may be instructed by medical professionals to keep them awake. Letting them fall asleep is dangerous and could even mean that the brain injury becomes fatal.

This leads to the assumption that going to sleep somehow turns a survivable brain injury into a fatal injury —  as if sleep itself is detrimental to the person’s health. But that’s not actually what’s going on. So why is it dangerous to sleep after a brain injury?

It can hide worsening symptoms

The issue is that the symptoms they are suffering from that brain injury may not become clear.

For example, maybe there is bleeding around the brain and your symptoms are getting worse as pressure increases. This could eventually become fatal, but there should be signs beforehand. You may have a headache, or you may even suddenly lose consciousness. If you’re awake when this happens, those around you know that you need immediate medical care.

But what if you’re asleep? It could be that you are losing consciousness, but anyone observing you would not know the difference. This delays the medical care that you need. In fact, people may not even realize that the brain injury is getting worse until it is too late and you have passed away. That’s the real reason that being awake is so important, because it just makes it easier to observe your symptoms.

If you have suffered from a serious brain injury on the job, perhaps as the result of a fall or being struck by an object, you need to know about your legal rights to workers’ comp benefits.