The need for increased sleep after traumatic brain injury is a common and disabling complaint, yet its etiology is unknown. Previous studies have demonstrated diffuse damage to various hypothalamic systems, but the integrity of the histaminergic tuberomammillary nucleus, a major arousal-promoting system located in the posterior hypothalamus, has never been examined in head trauma patients. Here, we demonstrate that severe head trauma is associated with a marked loss (41%) of histaminergic neurons. Reduced histamine signaling may contribute to increased sleep need, and therapies that enhance histaminergic tone may improve arousal after head trauma or other conditions. ANN NEUROL 2014. © 2014 American Neurological Association.