People who suffer from Parkinson's disease are usually
left to deal with a range of symptoms that can make day-to-day
tasks difficult. Among these, sleep -- one of our most basic
needs -- can be disrupted and hard to achieve. Often,
Parkinson's patients have sleep problems that are caused by
the disease itself, or are brought on by medicines used to treat or
help the patient.
Sleep problems associated with Parkinson's usually include
an inability to fall asleep, difficulty in staying asleep,
uncomfortable sensations in the legs at night (a condition known as
restless legs syndrome), nightmares, acting out of dreams that
might lead to accidents or injuries, and daytime drowsiness. If you
are encountering any of these symptoms, never take
over-the-counter sleeping medicines to help the problem without
first consulting your doctor. Some over-the-counter and
prescription medicines cause or worsen sleep problems.
What can I do to help my sleep problem?
sleep disturbance might be caused by other medicines that are being
prescribed to cope with Parkinson's disease, you should
consult your doctor about possible alternative medicines that could
be used instead that will not interfere with sleep.
A sleep disturbance might also indicate depression in a person
who has Parkinson's disease. Depression might bring on
fatigue, a changed level of physical and social activity, and a
tendency to not sleep soundly or not at all. If these problems
persist you should discuss them with your doctor.
Following are some tips for Parkinson's patients to
promote more restful sleep.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine within six hours of bed
- Do not take long naps during the day, and participate in
activities that keep you physically busy.
- Avoid using your bedroom for activities other than sleeping,
such as reading, watching television, or working.
- Remedies such as a warm glass of milk, a massage, and an
expression of affection might also help a Parkinson's patient
to sleep better. Also, a hot shower or bath can be helpful in
helping a patient to relax.
Depression, which is often common among Parkinson's
patients, can also contribute to insomnia. Doctors can usually
prescribe an antidepressant or a sedative to aid in sleep. However,
studies have shown that taking measures to promote relaxation and
good sleep habits work better than sleeping pills.