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I was diagnosed with Parkinson's several years ago. At first, I slept as I always had, but lately, I can't stay asleep and don't feel rested.




I was diagnosed with Parkinson's several years ago. At first, I slept as I always had, but lately, I can't stay asleep and don't feel rested. I wake up tired and have begun napping, something I had never done before. Is this common?

 

The most common sleep disorders in PD include insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and restless leg syndrome. Brain changes that are a part of PD can cause sleep difficulties. Some people have problems sleeping even before symptoms develop and PD is diagnosed. Sleep maintenance, or staying asleep, is the most common complaint. Disrupted sleep can affect your health, mood, and overall quality of life. Care partners are affected as well, making their moods clash with yours. Not getting enough rest is not healthy for anyone.

Always discuss your symptoms with your neurologist before adding any over-the-counter sleep aids.


Below are some tips that may help without medication. Most are easy adaptations to your routine that aren't difficult to implement. Here are the most common recommendations:

Avoid caffeine (after 12:00 pm), which includes coffee, tea, chocolate, and cocoa.

Avoid alcohol several hours before bedtime. It is a sedative that first calms, then later has a rebound effect, causing fragmented sleep.

Avoid vigorous exercise within 2 hours of bedtime, not all day. Studies show exercise is very beneficial.


Avoid drinking any liquid 3 hours before bedtime.

Avoid napping after 3:00 pm

Avoid a heavy late-night meal. A light snack before bed is OK.

Avoid smoking around bedtime or when waking during the night.

Avoid blue light from tablets, TV, or smartphones 1-2 hours before bed.

Sleep in a cool, dark room between 65-68 degrees.

Keep a regular sleep schedule, if possible. Try to get 7-8 hours each night; this includes weekends and vacations.

Spend time each day in natural light.

Take a hot bath or shower before going to bed to relax.

Use satin sheets and pajamas to make turning over easier.

Use a light quilt to avoid getting tangled in the sheets.

This list may seem daunting. You may already do some, but try one or two easier ones. Gradually add those that will be harder for you, and you should see a difference in how you feel during the day.

Disrupted sleep can affect your health, mood, and overall quality of life. Care partners are affected as well, making their mood clash with yours. Not getting enough rest is not good for anyone.

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