Severe TBI Causes Melatonin drop with Insomnia

In the May 25, 2010 issue of Neurology, Australian physician J.A. Shekleton, M.D., and colleagues published an article regarding their study of the sleep patterns of people with severe TBI. The researchers had 23 people who had sustained a severe TBI an average of 14 months earlier and 23 age-matched, healthy people spend two nights in a sleep lab.

The TBI group took more time to fall asleep (an average of 62 minutes vs. 27 minutes for the control group), spent less time in bed actually sleeping, and spent more time in non-REM sleep (also called dreamless, slow-wave-sleep). The researchers found that people in the TBI group produced less melatonin in the evening hours than people in the control group. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain which is supposed to increase at night (in concert with growing darkness) to signal the body to go to sleep.

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