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Why do I have trouble sleeping with Parkinson’s Disease?

A good night’s sleep is essential to keep your body and mind healthy, which is especially important in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) for recovery. A large majority of people with PD have sleep related symptoms, which can root from the medications or the disease itself. This involves difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and often waking up during the night. During the night, the following may be experienced that disrupt your sleep quality:

  • Talking out loud while asleep

  • Vivid dreaming

  • Excessive fatigue during the day

  • Sporadic leg jerking and movements

  • Waking up to go to the bathroom

  • Difficulty turning over in bed

Luckily there are many strategies to help improve your sleeping habits:

  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and time (includes naps)

  • Get plenty of natural daylight 

  • Decrease fluid intake a few hours leading up to sleep, and go to the bathroom right before

  • Create a regular bedtime routine every night to follow

  • Lie down only when you feel sleepy. Try a relaxing activity to engage in if you do not. 

  • And most importantly get plenty of daily exercise 

It is important to try avoid alcohol, caffeine, and stimulants such as nicotine for better sleep quality. Heavy meals late at night will make it difficult to sleep, as well as viewing blue light from phone and television screens right before bed. While exercise is great, heavy intensities within 6 hours of bedtime should be avoided. 

Around 40 percent of people with PD also have sleep apnoea, which can be a cause of restless sleep. Common symptoms are loud snoring, and pauses in breathing during sleep. 

Bad sleep can affect your quality of life as a whole, along with your health and mood. That is why it is important to try strategies that can help regain your sleep time, and avoid those that may further disrupt it. 

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