4 Factors that Can Cause People with Parkinson’s to Sleep a Lot

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Things that Can Cause Seniors with Parkinson’s to Sleep a Lot in Palm Desert, CA

Parkinson’s can affect sleep patterns, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 30 percent of people with Parkinson’s experience sleep-related problems. If your senior loved one has Parkinson’s disease and is sleeping too much, here are four specific reasons this could be the case and some things you can do to minimize this issue.

1. Making Up for Sleep Interruptions

Seniors with Parkinson’s sometimes have no difficulty falling asleep but still wake up periodically at night for other reasons, such as physical discomfort, needing to go to the bathroom, or nightmares. If this is the case, it may appear your loved one is sleeping more often if he or she naps during the day to make up for sleep interruptions. Possible solutions include:

• Finding out what’s causing physical discomfort
• Adjusting medications if certain drugs may be contributing to nightmares that make it difficult to sleep at night
• Encouraging a visit to the doctor to see if an untreated urinary tract infection is causing frequent nighttime urination

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s can be challenging, but compassionate help is available. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

2. Issues with Medication

Dopamine agonists, such as ropinirole, that are commonly used to manage Parkinson’s-related symptoms are often linked to drowsiness or excessive sleeping. Some medications also contribute to unintended sleep episodes (“sleep attacks”). Your loved one may also be completely unaware of these sleep episodes. If medication is believed to be the reason your parent is sleeping more often, talk to his or her doctor about possible medication changes or adjustments.

3. Sleep Apnea & REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

Somewhere around 40 percent of people with Parkinson’s may have sleep apnea, according to an estimate by the Parkinson’s Foundation. Sleeping too often during the day is a common symptom associated with the breathing disruptions characteristic of this condition. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. Diagnosis and treatment usually involves:

• An in-clinic or at-home sleep evaluation
• Use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night to maintain consistent breathing
• Surgery to remove tissue to stop the snoring often associated with sleep disturbances

Experienced by about half of all people with Parkinson’s, REM sleep behavior disorder is another condition that can result in frequent daytime sleeping. It’s caused by a lack of the normal muscle relaxation that happens during the deeper, restorative stages of sleep. Making adjustments to your loved one’s sleep environment may be helpful. Certain medications could be beneficial as well.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Palm Desert, CA, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. 

4. Depression

Some older adults with Parkinson’s sleep more often because they’re depressed about their condition or worsening symptoms. The Parkinson’s Foundation notes an imbalance in certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters could also make seniors with Parkinson’s more susceptible to depression.

If you suspect your loved one’s frequent sleeping is related to depression, the first thing to do is to have him or her get a mental health evaluation. Treatment for depression related to Parkinson’s may involve:

• Antidepressants
• Psychological counseling
• Cognitive behavioral therapy to recognize and change thought patterns
• Forms of exercise that are comfortable and relaxing
• Social support 

When you understand the causes of your loved one’s sleep issues and use the strategies outlined above, you can help him or her sleep better and enhance his or her overall wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Palm Desert, CA, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional home care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (760) 345-0001.


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