Sleep is a common difficulty in Parkinson’s disease (PD).
People with PD not only have difficulty falling asleep at night, they have difficulty staying asleep, and experience daytime sleepiness. Also, people with PD commonly are diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, rapid eye movement behaviour, and may experience nightmares or nightime delusion (often as a result of medication)… all of which can also be very disruptive to their bed-partners sleep! However, the link between PD and sleep disorders has yet to be clarified.
We also know that PD can impact “working memory”, so things like planning and problem solving required for everyday living. A new study now shows that sleep issues associated with PD can also impact working memory, making day-to-day living a cognitive challenging in sleep-deprived people with PD!
Specifically, “slow wave sleep” or the deepest part of sleep, is important for brain plasticity (cells make new connections). Having a full’s nights sleep saw significant improvements in working memory, especially in people taking dopamine medication.
… so what does this mean? Addressing sleep disorders in PD can potentially improve working memory capacity in patients with PD.
… and do you know what helps with sleep? YOGA!
After 6months of regular practice, yoga can significantly decreased the time taken to fall asleep, increases number of hours slept, and increases feelings of being rested in the morning compared to non-yoga controls in an older adult population (Manjunath & Telles, 2004).
stay tuned (next post!) for some wonderfully relaxing and restorative poses that you can do right in your bed for a better nights sleep… just like Levon! much love.
P.S. Want more info on sleep in PD? References: Michael J Fox Foundation’s FoxFeed; Nocturnal sleep enhances working memory training in Parkinson’s disease but not Lewy body dementia (Brain, 2012); Sleep and Parkinson’s disease (Mov Disord, In Press).