Traumatic Brain Injury, Sleep, and Melatonin—Intrinsic Changes with Therapeutic Potential

Allen Bell*, Bryson Hewins, Courtney Bishop, Amanda Fortin, Jonathan Wang, Jennifer L. Creamer, Jacob Collen, J. Kent Werner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most prevalent causes of morbidity in the United States and is associated with numerous chronic sequelae long after the point of injury. One of the most common long-term complaints in patients with TBI is sleep dysfunction. It is reported that alterations in melatonin follow TBI and may be linked with various sleep and circadian disorders directly (via cellular signaling) or indirectly (via free radicals and inflammatory signaling). Work over the past two decades has contributed to our understanding of the role of melatonin as a sleep regulator and neuroprotective anti-inflammatory agent. Although there is increasing interest in the treatment of insomnia following TBI, a lack of standardization and rigor in melatonin research has left behind a trail of non-generalizable data and ambiguous treatment recommendations. This narrative review describes the underlying biochemical properties of melatonin as they are relevant to TBI. We also discuss potential benefits and a path forward regarding the therapeutic management of TBI with melatonin treatment, including its role as a neuroprotectant, a somnogen, and a modulator of the circadian rhythm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-203
Number of pages27
JournalClocks and Sleep
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • insomnia
  • melatonin
  • neuroinflammation
  • neurology
  • neuroprotection
  • therapeutic
  • traumatic brain injury

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