THIS “traumatic” event increases your insomnia risk by 50 percent

If you’re like a lot of folks, you may find yourself struggling with sleep as you get older.  

Of course, nowadays, it’s plausible to blame increasingly poor sleep on the ongoing pandemic panic.   

But a brand-new study suggests there could be HUGE, hidden reason for all of your tossing and turning. Especially if you’re over the age of 65. And it actually has NOTHING to do with all the stressful world events that are weighing on our minds… 

Sleep problems linked to serious head trauma  

For this new study, researchers looked at more than 98,700 U.S. military veterans. At the study’s outset, none of the veterans experienced sleep disorders. But about half of them had been diagnosed with some degree of head trauma—ranging from a mild concussion to a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The other half had no history of TBI. 

Then, the researchers followed the veterans for an average of five years. During that time, many vets began experiencing some sort of sleep problem—including insomnia, daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea, or sleep-related movement disorders. 

And across the board, suffering a TBI increased the risk of every kind of sleep problem. In fact, after adjusting for confounding factors like age and race, the researchers discovered that those who had suffered a TBI were 50 percent more likely to experience a sleep disorder compared to those who had not suffered a TBI. 

Interestingly, the association was actually stronger for those who had suffered concussions (which are mild TBIs) compared to moderate or severe TBIs. 

The researchers theorized that concussions may cause more sleep problems because they’re characterized by more diffuse injury and inflammation throughout the brain. Whereas other brain injuries typically stem from a direct blow to the head with more severe, but more focused, brain damage. 

Of course, this study involved younger veterans. But concussions and TBI are also quite common among the elderly.  

So, if you’re over 65, these findings can be quite significant for understanding, preventing, or managing long-term sleep problems.

Natural ways to avoid TBI—and sleep problems—as you get older

First and foremost, I urge you to take some steps to avoid suffering a TBI as you get older…such as staying active to build core strength. You should also make sure your doctor regularly reviews and adjusts all your drugs and dosages to avoid dizziness (which can lead to falls and head injuries). 

There are also some very simple modifications you can make to your home to help avoid falls—like installing handrails, avoiding furniture that sits too low to the floor, improving lighting, and placing skid-free mats under throw rugs.

If you’ve already suffered a TBI and have trouble sleeping, never resort to taking a prescription sleep aid. For one, they just don’t work any better than doing NOTHING at all! Plus, they can cause a slew of terrible side effects.

Instead, give mindfulness meditation a try. You can learn about it in my books Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain and New World Mindfulness 

In addition, the ancient practice of aromatherapy can also help improve your sleep habits. In fact, as I mentioned yesterday, chamomile, lavender, limonene, orange, and peppermint are the best oils for promoting calm and relaxation. I personally like to apply a combination of all of these oils, blended with vitamin E in organic coconut and eucalyptus oil, directly onto my skin shortly before, or right at, bedtime.  

To learn more about how to achieve NATURALLY good sleep night-after-night, check out the August 2021 issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Sleep problems continue to haunt many Americans in the age of coronavirus”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, click here to become one! 


“Traumatic brain injury in older adults: epidemiology, outcomes, and future implications.” J Am Geriatr Soc. 2006;54(10):1590-1595. 

“Traumatic Brain Injury and Incidence Risk of Sleep Disorders in Nearly 200,000 US Veterans.” Neurology, 2021 March96(13):e1792-e1799.