Parkinson's Disease and Sleep

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  • an increase in symptoms as you are trying to sleep.
  • Use satin sheets and pajamas to help with getting in and out of bed.
  • Minimize beverages before bedtime to help avoid nocturia (frequent nighttime urination).
  • Get exercise and exposure to light early in the day.

If the Parkinson’s disease is not advanced then behavioral therapies may be useful to try. Behavioral techniques may include changing attitudes about sleep, learning new sleep habits, and sticking to a regular sleep schedule.

Parkinson’s patients are encouraged to spend time outdoors and to exercise each day, preferably in the morning or shortly after waking. Light therapy may also help normalize the sleep/wake cycles of Parkinson’s patients, especially those who may be unable to spend time outdoors.

In general, the quality of life for patients with Parkinson’s disease may be optimized with support and recognizing the opportunities to make lifestyle adjustments. That is why support groups for patients, family members and caregivers can be important. They introduce the participants to caring and supportive individuals and you can learn what decisions others have made and what works best. This can help avoid getting "stuck" at one stage and can help to take advantage of a useful idea. Support groups may be in your local community or you may be able to participate in information exchanges online. Visit the National Parkinson Foundation support group information page to find support resources in your area.

Reviewed by David Rye, MD, PhD, and Mark Mahowald, MD.