Are my mother's sleep problems connected to her Parkinson's?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother says she's wide awake all night, and then she's really sleepy during the day. Could this be connected to her Parkinson's? Is there anything we can do to help?

Expert Answers

Graham A. Glass, MD, is the deputy director of the San Francisco Parkinson's Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Care Center (PADRECC) and an assistant clinical professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He completed a fellowship in movement disorders at the Mayo Clinic.

Yes, this can be related to her Parkinson's disease, as patients with PD can have a number of sleep problems including acting out dreams at night, difficult with sleep maintenance (fall asleep okay but then only sleep for an hour or two), restless legs, and potentially a higher risk of sleep apnea.
In this case, I would reccomend that you make every effort to help align your mothers circadian cycle (day-night) which can sometimes get off. To do this, you should try to keep her from napping during the day, make sure she gets lots of morning sunlight and daytime exercise. This will make her more tired at night and more likely to get good quality sleep at night. Sometimes melotonin and/or other sleep aids (Ambien/Lunesta) can help begin this process.

Community Answers

Desesperada answered...

Yes!! Not an MD but, my dad suffered from powerful nightmares before diagnosed with PD. I have read many articles and it seems to be so.