Is It Safe To Sleep With A Concussion?

Getting a concussion is usually a pretty unpleasant experience. It requires hitting your head with enough force that your brain actually smashes into your skull (via Healthline). If the force is severe enough, your brain may even bounce and twist in your skill. Causes of concussions can range from car accidents to hits during contact sports like football. A common belief is that you shouldn't fall asleep after experiencing a concussion. But is closing your eyes to rest after hitting your head really that dangerous?

Concussions are classified as traumatic brain injuries because of the damage they can do to brain cells when a severe impact occurs (via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)). Signs of a concussion may include confusion, loss of consciousness, stunned appearance, headache, nausea or vomiting, blurry vision, and other physical and mental changes. They may appear immediately after the impact or might not show up for several days. If your doctor suspects you may have a concussion, they will conduct a series of neurological tests, including vision, hearing, balance, strength, coordination, and reflexes (via the Mayo Clinic). They may also check to see if you can recall information from before your accident, or how well you're able to concentrate.

Here's how to tell if you should rest

When treating a concussion, it's important that someone observes you to watch for changes in your symptoms (via the Mayo Clinic). This is why it may be important to stay awake for several hours in case symptoms appear or get worse. And while the common advice might be to stay awake or have someone wake you frequently, that's not always necessary. Sleep after getting a concussion can't do further damage or cause problems by itself (via Healthline). Sleeping can, however, mask symptoms of more serious brain injuries that could have occurred. A seizure or muscle weakness might go unnoticed if you are trying to sleep through the aftermath of a concussion.

So how do you know if it's safe to get some shut eye? In most cases, it's totally fine. If you can walk easily, have a normal conversation, and don't have dilated pupils, then getting some rest could even help you recover. But if your concussion has caused any changes in speech, movement, or your pupils, it's a good idea to have someone wake you up every once in awhile. The most important thing you can do if you suspect you have a concussion is to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment so you'll be on the path to recovery as quickly as possible.