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Getting to the Root of Fatigue Post-TBI
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If a veteran or service member comes in complaining of significant fatigue after their concussion, and that's been going on for quite some time one of the things that I like to start with is a review of their sleep patterns. So, when they're going to bed at night, when they're waking up if they're waking up during the night and then how they're dealing with that fatigue during the day. Are they drinking an enormous amount of caffeine in the morning and afternoon. And in the afternoon, are they even doing that at night to get through their work day so that at night they're really, really stimulated and not able to get to sleep. Some of those behavioral things that they're doing may be a real clue to somebody that there are ways that they can intervene and educate them about some of the things that they can do to improve their sleep in order to improve daytime fatigue. Let's say the service member tells you that they have a lot of difficulty going to sleep at night. That may not necessarily be because of brain injury so what you want to find out is what they're doing prior to going to sleep. Are they watching a lot of TV that may be really overstimulating? Are they playing really intense video games? Are they chatting with friends until 2:00 o'clock in the morning? Some of those things may actually stimulate them to the point where they have difficulty going to sleep.
Overwhelming fatigue post-injury can be due to disrupted sleep patterns — and there are strategies to help.