Parkinson's and Sleeping Problems

Parkinson's and Sleeping Problems


Fact Sheets


March 28, 2023

Parkinson's and Sleeping Problems

Last Updated:

March 28, 2023

Many people with Parkinson’s have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep.

However, there are a few tips you can follow to help yourself or the person with Parkinson’s you care for sleep more soundly. Sleep problems fall into three main categories: sleep onset insomnia, sleep maintenance problems, and daytime sleepiness. Many people are affected by more than one of these problems.

Sleep Onset Insomnia

Sometimes sleep onset problems may be related to anxiety or depression, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. If you can determine this is the case, your treatment can focus on dealing with these issues. Other contributing factors to sleep onset insomnia may include restless legs syndrome, akathisia (i.e., inner restlessness) and dyskinesias. These problems can keep you from sleeping and lead to daytime sleepiness. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing these problems as they may be able to adjust your medication.

Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Sleep fragmentation is the most common nocturnal complaint in people with Parkinson’s. It ranges from unexplained awakenings to awakenings associated with quite specific night-time motor disturbances or the frequent need to use the bathroom. Problems moving and then not being able to get up to go to the toilet are a common complaint.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Excessive daytime sleepiness is a common complaint of both people with early and mid-stage Parkinson’s. Poor sleep at night may contribute to sleepiness during

the day. Parkinson’s medications can also contribute to excessive sleepiness and can be adjusted or substituted.


It is important to consult the right health professional so that the causes of poor sleep can be explored, and a management plan discussed. Remember that sleep problems may not always be related to Parkinson’s, especially in older patients.

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