Why You Need Lots of Sleep after Stroke

Why You Need Lots of Sleep after Stroke

Do you sleep a lot after stroke and worry that it’s abnormal? Do you constantly feel tired and sleepy?

Don’t worry – it’s completely normal!

Your brain has sustained a serious injury and now it needs lots of rest in order to repair and rewire itself.

In fact, your brain normally uses 20% of your energy, and that percentage only increases when it’s busy trying to fix itself.

Why Sleep Is Oh-So Important

Sleep is necessary for a healthy brain.

When we sleep, our brain gets a chance to clean itself up and flush out toxic molecules that build up during waking hours.

If we don’t get enough sleep and these toxins continue to build up in our brain, it could lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Sleep Helps Improve Movement Recovery after Stroke

Sleep helps your brain heal and store information related to motor tasks.

During REM sleep, your brain turns short-term memories about muscle movement into long-term memories that become stored in the part of the brain that’s in charge of muscle activity.

Essentially, sleep helps your brain remember those movements that you’ve been practicing all day.

So if sleeping is the only thing that you want to do after you finish your rehabilitation exercises, rest assured. You’re doing your body a great service! In fact, sleep is one of the most important ingredients in any good stroke rehabilitation regimen.

Take It from a Stroke Survivor

Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who experienced a massive stroke, wrote a book about her 8-year stroke recovery and all the lessons she learned.

One of  those lessons was the incredible importance of getting plenty of sleep after stroke. In fact, it’s her top recommendation for healing! Take it from a stroke-surviving neuroscientist – sleep is important!

Now that you how crucial good sleep is for stroke recovery, do you feel less guilty about getting all those zzz’s? We hope so.

Have Trouble Sleeping?

But what if you really want to sleep lots, but you just can’t seem to fall asleep when you want?

Many stroke survivors suffer from insomnia after stroke, and our other article on sleep after stroke addresses some treatment options that you can try.

Also, if you’re currently taking medication, then be sure to check their side effects as “difficulty sleeping” could be one of them.

One of our readers reported that she had trouble sleeping ever since her stroke. Then when she finally brought the problem up to her doctor, a simple change in the timing of her medication (taking it in the afternoon instead of right before bed) allowed her to finally get some shut eye!

So don’t overlook the cause that could be right in front of your nose. Always read the side effects of any medication you take.


Now that you know the importance of getting lots of sleep after stroke…

Nap time anyone?

Other articles on sleepiness after stroke:

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  • Pingback: Fatigue After Stroke | Growing Guides()

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  • Pingback: 12 Things Every Stroke Survivor Wished You Knew - Flint Rehab()

  • Stop The Left

    I had a small stroke, and am at home after 3 weeks, but it is hard to get the sleep I want, people calling, missed packages I need to sign for, it’s frustrating and I feel the need for sleep. I was wondering if I am hurting my chances of full recovery?

    • Flint

      I’m sorry that you’re not getting the sleep you’re craving. And to answer your question, maybe. It sounds like you’re not getting the quality sleep you want, but as long as you’re sleeping lots (more than 7 hours), you’re in good shape. Obviously, more is better if you’re craving it. If you’re having trouble sleeping, I’d talk to your doctor about sleeping medication (if you like the medical route) or taking up a relaxation practice (if you like the alternative route). Also, be sure to let the people who are preventing you from sleeping know how important it is for you during this time. Best of luck and let us know how things pan out!

      • Stop The Left

        Flint, I got about 7 hours the first time, night before last, then up about 5 hours then last night I got 10 hours in a row again. Ha, maybe just telling someone was all I needed? Today is the last day of madness, (another package to sign for), then I can lay in bed and cat nap whenever I feel like it. I ordered a wifi laptop, so now I can do both. I was already sleeping in 2-3 hour naps before the stroke. Maybe those were a sign? Naps were not usual for me. :o)

        • Flint

          Telling someone sounds like exactly what you needed 🙂 it sounds like you’re getting good sleep aside from that one night with 5 hours. And it’s GREAT that you’re taking lots of cat naps. It’s great for your healing 🙂 Keep it up!!

          • Stop The Left

            I seem to be back on track, sleeping 10 and 11 hours in a row. That’s what I like.

  • BlueBasset


    • Flint

      Totally normal! You’re doing exactly what you should be doing 🙂

    • Emely

      I’m glad to hear that BlueBasset. My father had a massive stroke last Sunday and has several smaller strokes that have landed him in ER just to be sent home. I haven’t been able to sleep comfortably checking on him every hour. Thanks for putting my mind at ease that’s it’s okay for him to rest. 👋🏽

      • BlueBasset

        Wow! I look back at my typing 8 months ago and it is shocking. I’m extremely thankful that my recovery has been basically 100%. My hopes that your father finds his own recovery.

  • Gouse pasha

    After a mini stroke on left hand fingers after 3 days later I am feeling sleepy for 4-5 minutes or more than 8 hours is this good for health or what please reply

    • Flint

      HI Gouse, sleeping for 4-5 minutes more than 8 hours sounds great. If you body wants sleep, then let yourself sleep.

  • tinagoni

    Hi there 🙂 after a bleeding stroke, I got blood clots on my leg.I was not moving at all for two months.Now I still have pain in my right leg, d dimer level suggests no blood clots behind knee, but the pain is still on my leg, from hip down to foot, do you have pain?or this is only my with this side effect :)?

  • Emely

    Thank you for this free download and great advice and information!

    • Flint

      You are most welcome Emely 🙂 I’m glad that you’re putting the information to good use!