April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. With approximately 80,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease in Australia, the incidence of this progressive neurological condition is expected to increase as our population ages.
Sleep is one of the areas that are affected for those with Parkinson’s disease. Some research also points to sleep quality as an important factor underlying risk and disease progression (Sleep Disturbances as Potential Risk and Progression Factor for Parkinson’s Disease). Not only can poor sleep contribute to the risk of developing the disease but can progress the disease further over time. Like many diseases or chronic conditions, sleep disturbances can adversely affect the condition itself and lead to a viscous cycle of poor sleep.
The Parkinson’s Organisation recommends that people with Parkinson’s follow good sleep hygiene practices to help improve their sleep quality. Some of these practices include:
- Routine. Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, including weekends.
- Only sleep when sleepy. Listen to your body.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. It is best to avoid consuming any caffeine (in coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and some medications) alcohol or nicotine for at least 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Reduce daytime naps. If you do need to nap, try to limit it to under 30 minutes and before 2pm.
- Regular exercise. But, if possible, try not to do strenuous exercise too close to bedtime.
- Use the last hour or so before bed to relax your mind.
- Eat right. Try to eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime and if possible, avoid heavy meals.
- Improve your sleep environment. Create a nice, clean space with bedding that supports healthy sleep.
Gaylene’s husband lives with Parkinson’s disease and she spoke with us about her experience with the Wenatex Sleep System. Watch here.