Parkinson’s disease: Are you having trouble sleeping? It could be a sign of the disease

Do you find you’re having trouble sleeping? It could be indicative of Parkinson’s disease – as dopamine levels decrease, more symptoms appear.

The informative charity Parkinson’s UK noted how people with the brain disease can experience a range of sleep disturbances.

A common issue people encounter when they have this condition is known as nocturia.

What’s nocturia?

Nocturia is the term to describe when you wake up in the night with the urge to urinate.

Limiting alcohol and caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee, may be a good option.

Think about investing in bed protection, such as absorbent sheets and bed pads.

Handheld urinals or sheaths may also help if you have issues getting to the toilet on time.

If you experience nocturia, do speak to your GP – discussing your health concerns with your doctor is imperative.


Another common sleeping disturbance people with Parkinson’s can experience is periodic leg movements during the night.

The legs, arms or body can “jump” during sleep, known as “periodic leg (or limb) movements”.

Parkinson’s can affect how a person moves in other ways too. For example, it can make turning over in bed difficult.

This is due to one of the main symptoms of the disease – rigidity. The other two main symptoms are: tremors and slowness of movement.

The charity recommends using satin pyjamas if you struggle to turn over in bed.

Another recommendation is to have satin sheets, but not to wear satin pjs when satin sheets are on the bed.

This is because the material can increase the risk of sliding out of bed too quickly.

In addition to this advice, another tip is to have an area of friction either at the end or side of the bed to provide grip.

Someone with Parkinson’s can also experience sleep apnoea – a serious condition when a person momentarily stops breathing during their sleep.

This leads to a person waking up throughout the night, taking a few breaths and falling back asleep (and most people won’t remember doing this).

Signs of sleep apnoea include loud snoring, choking noises while asleep and excessive daytime sleepiness.

This condition requires medical attention, so do tell your partner if you notice they’re waking up in the night.  


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