A traumatic brain injury (TBI) suffered on the job can affect you in many ways. No two TBIs are quite the same. The symptoms you develop can depend on the force of the blow and where on the head you are struck. For example, a fall onto your head could affect you differently than a glancing blow from a heavy tool or machine.

Commonly known symptoms of a brain injury include headaches, nausea, sensitivity to light and mood swings. Now it appears we can add long-term sleep disorders to the list as well.

Study suggests TBI sleep problems can last for months

A Norwegian study suggests that even a mild TBI, commonly known as a concussion, can disrupt your sleep for months afterward. Subjects in their experiment reported symptoms like fatigue, poor sleep quality, excessive sleepiness during the day, and an increased need for sleep.

The study focused on the prevalence of sleep-related symptoms over time, specifically at two weeks, three months and one year after the subjects’ brain trauma occurred. Researchers found that several patients were experiencing problems staying asleep and with fatigue two weeks after their injuries. Of those, about half still had these symptoms after three months, and one-third were still having problems at the 12-month point. Chronic sleep disturbances like these can lead to reduced cognitive function and affect quality of life.

Tucson workers with brain injuries may qualify for workers’ comp

A brain injury affecting your sleep a year after it occurred can greatly affect your ability to work. If you suffered your injury in the course of your work duties, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation under Arizona law. If you have already applied for workers’ comp and been denied, or offered much less than you need, you should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney.