Sleep problems and Parkinson's
Problems with sleeping are quite common for people with Parkinson's. Studies have suggested
that up to 90% of people with the condition experience such
Read on for more information. You can also take a look at our
Q&A on sleep and night-time problems in
Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is an increase in the amount
of sleeping in the daytime, to the extent that it interferes with
everyday activities and their quality of life.
Someone with excessive daytime sleepiness will tend to fall
asleep when they're not active.
Parkinson's can affect the parts of the brain that regulate the
It is also thought that the medications used to treat the motor
symptoms of Parkinson's have an important role in causing excessive
If you, or those around you, notice you are sleeping so much
during the day that it's affecting your ability to carry out
everyday activities, it's important to speak to your consultant or
Treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness is fairly
challenging, but can help improve your quality of life.
Treatment normally involves the following steps:
- improving sleep hygiene – this includes having a bedtime
routine, making sure you have a comfortable environment to sleep in
and not having stimulants like coffee in the hours before you go to
- modifying dopamine agonist drugs and using the lowest effective
- discontinuing sedatives or stimulant drugs
- treating mental health issues such as depression
You may also find that it can help if you try to keep as busy as
possible. Attending regular social clubs or a day centre can help
as it gives clear structure to your day.
Our Sleep and night-time problems in
Parkinson's booklet contains more on how different drugs can
cause daytime sleepiness.
Intense and frightening dreams
Vivid nightmares may actually be nocturnal hallucinations and
are often an effect of some Parkinson's medication taken at
If there is some other underlying cause, such as a bladder
infection, a doctor will treat this and the hallucinations should
If the hallucinations are causing distress a doctor may suggest
that some treatment is necessary or an adjustment be made to the
Read more in our free publications:
Restless legs syndrome can occur if you have Parkinson's and can
Symptoms include pins and needles, painful sensations or burning
of the legs and the irresistible urge to move while resting and
when trying to sleep.
Although the exact cause of restless leg syndrome is not known,
it is a common condition in the general population and can occur in
up to 20% of people with Parkinson's.
Support and advice for those with restless legs syndrome:
Also in this section
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