A concussion is a most common for of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that alters the way your brain functions. After a concussion, a person can be left with disturbed sleep, memory deficits and other cognitive problems for several years. A new research has revealed that sleep helps memory consolidation even in individuals who sustain mild TBI.
Lead researcher Rebecca Spencer from University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US said, "It is interesting to note that despite having atypical or disturbed sleep architecture, people in our study had intact sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Supporting opportunities to sleep following a concussion may be an important factor in recovery from cognitive impairments."
Twenty-six young adults aged 18 to 22 years with a history of diagnosed TBI an average three to four years earlier from various causes, and 30 others with no history of brain injury were part of the study. The researchers found that individuals who had sustained a mild TBI more than a year ago had greater recall in a word memorization task after they had slept than when tested after an equal period awake.
Specifically, data from study participants who had a concussion more than one year before had differences in sleep as measured by polysomnography, a montage of recordings used to stage sleep. The study found that they spent a significantly greater part of the night in deep, slow-wave sleep, a sleep stage where memories are replayed and consolidated to long-term storage, and their memory and recall ability was not significantly different than the study subjects who had no TBI.
The study authors said, "Overall, sleep composition is altered following TBI but such deficits do not yield insufficiencies in sleep-dependent memory consolidation."
The study is published online in Frontier in Human Neuroscience.