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How to Sleep Well

Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms are worse without good sleep.

Ensure you are creating a good sleep environment by:

  • Keep the bedroom quiet and dark during your sleep period
  • Avoid bright lights in the two hours before sleep
  • Avoid screens before bedtime and if using a screen reduce bluelight with applications that adjust the screen display F.Lux (Android, Windows), Night Shift (iPhone)
  • Keep room cool (65-68 degrees is ideal for most people)

Heathy sleep habits:

  • Get up at the same time daily, and go to sleep at the same time at night
  • Limit naps, it may make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Short naps (lasting 15-20 minutes) may improve mood and function. Do not take naps after 2pm since this could disrupt nighttime sleep
  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night
  • Limit fluid intake several hours before bedtime
  • Take the TV out of the bedroom, limit screen time before bedtime
  • Have a calming ritual at bedtime (e.g. music, meditation)
    • Paced breathing
    • Grace breath
  • Regular physical exercise promotes good sleep, but make sure you exercise at least 2 hours prior to going to sleep
  • Avoid caffeine after 1pm
  • Avoid alcohol at bedtime
  • Get sunlight exposure daily for at least 30 minute every morning, even on cloudy days. Try to get this exposure within 30 minutes of getting up.
  • Paced breathing
  • Grace breath

Medical conditions that can disrupt sleep

  • Parkinson’s disease and related disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea OSA)
  • Depression, anxiety
  • REM behavior disorder (RBD)

Treatments for sleep issues in PD:

  • CBT-I
  • Melatonin
  • Carbidopa/Levodopa
  • Trazodone
  • Mirtazapine
  • Other medications to consider: silenor, quetiapine
  • Avoid ambien, lunesta, and benadryl (e.g. advil PM)

Created by the More than a Movement Disorder Team with support from the National Institute of Nursing Research Grant #R01NR016037