Lack of Sleep May Mess With Concussion Assessments

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Source: David Goehring

Source: David Goehring

The amount of sleep you have the night before may impact how well a concussion test works, according to the results of a large study, reported by Med Page Today.

The report from D. Jake McClure, a medical student from Vanderbilt University in Nashville states that fewer than seven hours of sleep the night before correlated significantly with worse performance on concussion assessments of verbal memory, visual memory, and reaction time. The only scores not affected by sleep duration were tests of visual-motor skills.

The study, which was presented at the American Ortopaedic Society for Sports Medicine meeting in Chicago, tested 3,704 athletes, none of which had concussions. The number of reported symptoms on the assessments increased for athletes with less sleep the night before.

“Because return-to-play decisions often hinge on the comparison of post-concussion to baseline concussion scores, our research indicates that healthcare providers should consider the sleep duration prior to baseline neurocognitive testing as a potential factor in assessing recovery,” McClure said in a statement.

Sports medicine specialists use these tests and neurocognitive assessments, as well as self-reported symptoms, to help diagnose concussions and evaluate the recoveries from them.

“Understanding factors which modify baseline testing, potentially including sleep, will continue to help lead to more accurate concussion testing, which ultimately equips clinicians with the best judgment to avoid returning athletes to competition earlier than necessary,” McClure said.

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