The struggle to get a good night’s sleep for Parkinson’s patients is as real as it gets. Frequent muscle cramps, episodes of nausea, and uncontrollable jitters are a few of the many side effects of Parkinson’s medications that haunt a patient’s night. To help with their sleep, most Parkinson’s patients resort to sleep medications, which in turn severely affect their body and cause dependency. But sleep medications don’t need to be the only solution to ensure a sound sleep for patients. Here we have for you seven tips for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients.
Keeping a Sleep Routine
Parkinson’s patients are often unable to sleep for longer durations which is the primary reason that they switch to sleep medications. Planning a sleep routine that limits the day naps in exchange for sleeping at pre-scheduled hours is helpful in creating a proper sleep cycle for the body. Also, it helps a patient sleep for longer hours. Patients who find themselves stuck with dependence on sleep medication can begin with progressive steps by following a routine. A well-defined routine for sleep is one of the most important tips for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients.
Changing the Diet
As fundamental as it is, switching to a prescribed diet is among the most helpful tips for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients. It’s always best to ask your neurologist about the foods you should avoid, after which your daily diet can be reorganized as per the dietary precautions prescribed by the doctor. Also, Parkinson’s patients are advised to avoid overconsumption of alcohol or other such mood stimulants to prevent episodes of nausea or distress. If you are a patient who suffers from other diseases along with Parkinson’s, it is better to get yourself a prescribed diet from a certified dietician.
Common Myths about Deep Brain Stimulation:
While deep brain stimulation is a viable option and solution for those patients who face excessive movement and tremors in their body as an unwanted side effect of Parkinson’s; and is known for its success. The “pacemaker for the brain” as it is often referred as, is an implanted medical device to deliver accurate and controlled electrical stimulus to the targeted areas of the brain, this helps and corrects the abnormal pulses in the brain. However, there are quite a few misconceptions around the treatment, and they are:
There is no solid cure out there but what it does help is to improve quality of life. According to a research, it improves the quality of life by 26% and improves motor movements by 53%. Parkinson’s patients who undergo DBS, experience a drastic reduction in medication, and their motor function improves consistently. They have more fluid movements; reduce rigidity, helps with improving slowness and freezing (Akinesia).
DBS is new and experimental, how can it be trusted fully?
Deep brain stimulation as a treatment has been approved by the medical association FDA in the United States for over ten years, since 1997, and there are more than 1,75,000 DBS patients worldwide. The American Neurological Academy, recommends deep brain stimulation for a 60-90% progress in limb related tremors, and DBS for PD has been proven to provide better control over motor related symptoms versus medications alone. Thereby leading to a reduction in the number of medications taken and subsequently enhancing the quality of life.
Despite the pros of Deep Brain Stimulation, it is a treatment after all; one has to decide wisely. The chances of infection range between 3-5% over the course of the patient’s life, stroke risks are less than 1%. This procedure has been confirmed to be safe and efficient in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and essential tremor. There is minimal postoperative pain and most patients spend only one night in the hospital.
Patients fail to realize that Parkinson’s disease works by inhibiting the growth of neurons and does not affect the overall health of the body. Exercising not only helps patients keep their bodies healthy but burning enough energy allows them to sleep longer and deeper. Also, frequently exercising helps patients improve their muscle movements. Yoga has proven to be of great help for many Parkinson’s patients worldwide. Patients at a later stage of their disease can always take assistance in their exercising and slowly develop a workout routine they can sustain on their own. Exercising is one of the important tips for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients at any stage of the disease.
Synchronizing Medication with Sleep
One of the key tips for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients is synchronizing the medication timing and sleep routine. Parkinson’s medications take time to trigger into effect during which patients suffer through a brief period of unease with possible muscle tension, and tremors. A basic step to take is planning a patient’s medication as per their sleep routine. This approach will help avoiding the side effects of Parkinson’s medicine during a patient’s sleep hours.
Taking Physiotherapy Sessions
Over time, Parkinson’s patients lose their ability to control the normal movement of their muscles which can lead to muscle atrophy. Muscle cramps, lack of body-balance, frequent pain in muscles and joints can be avoided to a great degree by taking routine physiotherapy sessions. Many physiotherapy clinics offer specialized therapy sessions for Parkinson’s patients focused on improving their muscle movement. This tip for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients will be especially helpful for patients who have reached later stages of the disease and are unable to move without assistance.
The steroidal base of Parkinson’s medicines causes severe dehydration, mood alteration and irritability in patients, which affects their sleep. Detoxification is one important tip for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients at any stage of their disease. There can be many approaches for detox such as staying properly hydrated, eating anti-oxidant rich food, exercising, sunbathing and more. Patients can also visit naturopathy centers for a thorough detoxification session. Making detox a part of a patient’s daily routine can also bring positive change in their lives and their sleeping habit.
Stress is what majorly busts the sleep of a Parkinson’s patient, and a major stress-buster is meditation. Meditating before sleep is one of the most helpful tips for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients. Simply, try not to carry along anything bothersome to your bed. Sharing is another form of meditation if you are struggling to find zen on your own. Over time, with meditation, patients will be able to ensure themselves stress-free sleep. Patients who feel the need to consult a professional therapist for their mental health are eagerly advised to do so.
Tips for caregivers
Caregivers play a major role in a patient’s daily routine. There are many ways that a caregiver can help ensure a sound sleep for the Parkinson patient. Keeping a schedule of their medication timing, diet cycle and taking them for regular check-ups are a few of the many ways a caregiver can help. Other than that, a caregiver also becomes an emotional support for Parkinson’s patients as they are prone to episodes of confusion, nausea, and hallucinations. Staying by their side as they sleep, giving messages and offering them an attentive ear can be very helpful for patients.
Considered altogether, the above-mentioned tips for better sleep for Parkinson’s patients can be helpful in many. However, patients should not limit themselves to just these. It’s always better to take the guidance from your neurologist before making any changes in the diet, medication, or sleep routine of a Parkinson’s patient. Also, the patients who suffer other diseases along with Parkinson’s should always seek help from professional dieticians and physiotherapists. In conclusion, Parkinson’s is a disease which can be slowed down in various ways; getting proper sleep is a fundamental step that can help a lot.
Disclaimer: The content provided above is for informational purposes only. It is recommended that you consult your medical professional before taking any steps based on the information above.