Sleeping Well Despite Parkinson’s Disease
The physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease can often prevent people from living with this disease from having a good night's sleep. Parkinson's disease movement disorders and motor symptoms can greatly disturb your sleep patterns and sleep habits and prevent you from reaping the expected benefits.
Although many people are having sleep problems, the fact is that we are awake on average 16 hours a day and therefore we should sleep for about 8 hours. The restorative effects of sleep are experienced when you go through normal sleep-wake cycles, which can be problematic for people with Parkinson.
Patients with Parkinson very often experience REM sleep behaviour disorder. If you experience other sleep disorders like sleep apnea or excessive daytime sleepiness, it is even more essential for you to ensure that you get quality sleep.
To learn more about Parkinson's and the different stages of Parkinson's disease, you can check out our other posts on the subject. So here are some tips that don't pretend to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease but might simply help you sleep better.
Get Plenty of Sunlight, or at least Light, during the Day
Exposure to bright light during the day helps our bodies distinguish between day and night and better respond to the need to sleep when it's dark. Natural light (sunlight) works much better than artificial light, so try to spend some time outdoors if possible or sit by a well-lit window.
Exercising during the day will help you sleep better at night. However, it is best to avoid exercising just before you go to bed for the night, as it can cause a rush of adrenaline.
Avoid Distractions That Can Disrupt Sleep
It is best to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and sugar, as well as alcohol and nicotine at least one hour before bedtime, as these substances will contribute to your lack of sleep. Also, limit the number of fluids you drink so you don't wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
Ask your bed partner to limit their movements during sleep at night and, if necessary, discuss the possibility of separate beds.
Try to Limit Yourself to Short Naps
A nap can be very restorative but it can also interfere with nighttime sleep. So, if you feel sleepy during the day, try to limit your nap to less than 40 minutes.
Forget Your Pet
Cats and dogs love to sleep next to their masters. Unfortunately, they also like to take more than their share of the bed and they make noise. In short, your pet distracts you more than you think, which negatively impacts your night's sleep. Give your pet his own bed, preferably in another room.
Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
A comfortable mattress and pillow are essential. If you can't afford a new mattress, consider buying a mattress topper that can help you feel more comfortable at night.
Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature and if you need to open a window, make sure you aren't exposed to a cold air current. Ideally, your bedroom should only be used for sleeping and romantic encounters. Eliminate work or study books, laundry piles, electronics, televisions and other non-sleep-related items and create a safe haven for relaxation.
Develop a Bedtime Routine
Establishing a bedtime routine is one of the keys to a successful night's sleep. Try to do the same thing every night before bed, whether it's taking a hot bath, reading a book or drinking herbal tea, it's up to you. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day to establish a regular sleep schedule. A routine will help you fight your sleep disorders.
If You Can't Sleep, Just Get Out of Bed
Give yourself 15-20 minutes to fall asleep. If you're still awake after that time, get up. Sit in a good chair and read a book or listen to relaxing music until you're sleepy. Make sure to avoid screens, however.
There are always over-the-counter sleeping pills but...
Try to limit prescription sedatives to a period of no more than two weeks and intersperse these periods with weeks during which you use natural alternatives such as valerian root capsules or tea.
These tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep are suggested by Parkinson's Foundation, a non-profit organization. With these few tips, you should be able to sleep better and thus improve your quality of life as well.
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