You may be surprised to find out that someone is injured in a car accident every ten seconds in the US. An unexpected and traumatic event like a car accident can cause strain on the mind and body. After experiencing a violent event like a vehicle collision, it’s normal to feel exhaustion and fatigue.
However, some people experience a response beyond normal exhaustion and fatigue. For example, some people may have difficulty sleeping due to anxiety or pain from accident-related injuries. In fact, about one-third of people involved in non-fatal crashes report experiencing psychological conditions like PTSD, depression, anxiety, or phobias for as long as one year after the accident.
The inability to sleep or stay asleep is known as insomnia. A person who didn’t have insomnia before and developed it after a car accident might have post-traumatic stress disorder. This is especially troubling since people who have car accident injuries need plenty of rest. On the other hand, some people might sleep too much after a car accident due to depression or another underlying condition that resulted from the accident trauma.
Read on to learn about different types of sleep issues and their possible causes.
Car Accident Trauma
Motor vehicle collisions are traumatic events. They can affect the way you think, feel, and even your sleep patterns. When stress hormones linger in the body, they can have a negative effect on your sleep quality. Furthermore, they can affect your dreams and how well-rested (or unrested) you feel in the morning. This can last for months after a traumatic event like a car crash.
Many car accident victims find themselves experiencing depression after an accident. Depression is insidious because it does not have obvious symptoms like a physical injury. As a result, people who experience depression may do so without anyone knowing or realizing it. Depression is a clinical condition that should be taken as seriously as any other mental or physical condition.
Accident victims experiencing depression after a car accident should speak with a mental health profession. Signs of depression after a car accident might look like this:
- An inability to focus or concentrate
- A feeling of helplessness
- Chronic fatigue and low energy
- Intense and pervasive anxiety
- Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
- Sleeping too much or too little
Is It Safe to Sleep Right After a Car Accident?
You may have heard warnings about not sleeping right after a car accident. Usually, this rules out traumatic brain injuries that could worsen if you sleep. However, a person who experiences a severe or traumatic head injury or brain bleed should be saved if they are treated right away.
However, if they sleep, the injury could worsen and lead to permanent damage or even death. That’sThat’s why accident victims should seek medical care ASAP after a crash for proper evaluation.
It’sIt’s rare for a person to be unable to stay awake or wake up after a crash unless they have a life-threatening injury. In fact, most people are more awake and alert due to adrenaline from the shock of the collision. So most of the time, sleeping after an accident is safe. Just be sure to get a medical evaluation to rule out any head injuries or a brain bleed that has invisible symptoms. Then, try to get a good night’s sleep, as that is crucial to facilitating your mind and body to recover from such a traumatic event.
Excessive Sleeping After a Car Accident (Hypersomnia)
Immediately after a crash, you might experience brain fog or have trouble recalling what just happened. As a result, they might fall asleep and wake up a few hours later to first responders and loud noises. This could be a sign of a concussion. Furthermore, if a person cannot stay awake, is chronically exhausted, or sleeps excessively after a crash, this isn’t normal and needs to be addressed immediately.
A few indications could be causing excessive sleepiness after a crash. The first possibility is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Over half (about 70%) of car accident victims who experience a traumatic brain injury will also experience sleep disturbances. They either report poor sleep or excessive sleep after the accident.
TBIs and concussions (a type of TBI) can alter parts of the brain that control sleep. Damage to that part of the brain can result in disturbances in our sleep-wake cycle and be detrimental to our ability to focus and stay awake. Additionally, people with severe TBIs might experience headaches, mood swings, and feelings of confusion and tiredness.
If you suddenly need to sleep all the time after a car accident, see a doctor immediately. You need to rule out the possibility of a concussion or TBI. If a brain injury is left untreated, it can worsen and lead to permanent damage or even death.
While some fatigue is normal after an accident, chronic and persistent oversleeping are not.
Inability to Fall Asleep or Stay Asleep (Insomnia)
In contrast to oversleeping, some accident victims are unable to sleep. In addition, injury victims who report suffering from insomnia might be experiencing a side effect of PTSD, anxiety, or depression.
They may report feeling exhausted yet still not being able to get enough sleep or staying asleep long enough to wake up feeling well-rested. Or, they might have trouble falling asleep because their mind is racing or replaying the accident scene.
While it’s common to feel anxious about the accident and experience emotional anguish, crash victims should not have to suffer. Having a doctor evaluate you and diagnose properly can help mitigate negative emotions and provide coping mechanisms. Whether it’s therapy, medication, or another route, a mental health professional can help you determine the best way to start getting a restful night’s sleep again.
Other Sleep Issues After Car Accident
You should seek medical attention if you experience any of the following sleep disturbances after a car accident:
- Sleep apnea
- Excessive daytime sleepiness or an Inability to stay awake
- Limb movement disorder
These can be symptoms of a more serious issue like spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury. However, even if you don’t have a serious injury, sleep is vital to living a healthy and productive life. So if you are experiencing sleep disturbances after an accident, you should speak to a medical professional.
Treatment for Sleep Problems After a Car Accident
Once you recognize your sleep issues, you can seek the appropriate medical professional to help you find the right treatment plan. Treatment for sleep issues might include cognitive anxiety management, deep breathing exercises, sleep medication, or a combination of treatments.
However, if a brain injury causes your sleep problems, the treatment will depend on what kind of brain injury and the severity. For example, recovery will be slow and gradual if you had a concussion. The physical treatment you may recommend is time off work or school, rest, medication, and limiting physical activity. If you experienced a TBI, you might have to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Get Help From a Denver Car Accident Lawyer Today
Sleep disturbances, whether it’s sleeping too much or too little, can drastically impact your quality of life. Additionally, if TBI causes your sleep issues, you need medical intervention immediately.
It’sIt’s essential to get immediate medical care after an accident to rule out serious injuries like TBI. Moreover, if you delay treatment, insurance companies could try to use this against you. To protect your rights, health, and compensation, working with an experienced Denver car accident lawyer is best. Strong legal representation will give you peace of mind and help you get the right treatment you need to get good sleep again.
We offer a free consultation, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.