No, sleeping does not make brain injuries worse. In fact, sleep is actually very important for recovery. The brain's energy after a concussion is reduced significantly and there may be a powerful urge to sleep. The general recommendation is to let your child sleep after their injury, but occasionally check on them (gently push or nudge them) to be sure that they respond to you in some way. You do not need to wake them up fully.
The concern is that if your child is sleeping, you cannot see possible signs of a more severe brain injury, related to a bleed in the brain or swelling. These signs are listed in the Danger Signs:
- Headaches that worsen
- Very drowsy, can't be awakened
- Can't recognize people or places
- Repeated vomiting
- Increasing confusion
- Neck pain
- Slurred speech
- Weakness/numbness in arms/legs
- Unusual behavior change
- Significant irritability
- Less responsive than usual
If the child is not responsive to gentle prodding, you should seek emergency medical care.