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Does Parkinson’s Disease affect Sleep?

For those with Parkinson’s Disease, changes in one’s sleep is reported as one of the most common non-motor complaints, affecting up to 90% of those diagnosed with the condition. The most common and frequent reported sleep complaints during the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease is to do with sleep maintenance. Other common reported complaints surrounding sleep include excessive daytime sleepiness, parasomnias (including nocturnal vocalisations, rapid eye movement and altered dreaming), falling asleep, and obstructive sleep apnoea. Disruptions in sleep can contribute to a reduced quality of life.


Evidence suggests that 66.6% of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease have difficulty falling asleep, whilst 88.5% have difficulty maintaining sleep throughout the night. Of the 88.5% who have trouble staying asleep, it is reported that these individuals will wake up 2-5 times on average, compared to those who struggle to stay asleep without Parkinson’s Disease (1-3 times per night).


Alongside excessive daytime sleepiness an insufficient night’s sleep can result in an impaired ability to function effectively, complete tasks, and can put you and others at risk when operating motor vehicles.


What are the Causes?

There are numerous causes to why an individual may have trouble sleeping, with any number of causes contributing to any one person. Causes include but aren’t limited to an increase of age, progression of the condition, nocturnal (night-time) motor disturbances, nocturia (the need to use the bathroom at night-time), depression and it’s symptoms, and the use of various medications. 

Bottom Line:

If you are noticing that you’re not sleeping as well as you used to or would like to, book an appointment with your doctor. Sleep disorders usually occur early on during Parkinson’s Disease and progress over time. Matters surrounding sleep can be overlooked by family, caregivers and health professionals. When effective management strategies for sleep disturbance are implemented, excessive daytime sleepiness may be improved, which will improve your quality of life. 

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