What Makes Seniors with Parkinson’s Spend a Lot of Time Sleeping?

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Roughly 64 percent of seniors with Parkinson’s disease experience sleep disorders, according to 2017 research by Frontiers in Neurology. While some seniors may have difficulty falling asleep, others may experience extreme daytime sleepiness. Why do so many seniors with Parkinson’s sleep for hours yet drift off to sleep in the middle of the day? There are actually multiple factors that cause this issue.

Exhaustion from Other Sleep Disorders

In some cases, seniors sleep excessively because they’re completely worn out. Many seniors with Parkinson’s experience restless legs syndrome, sleepwalking, and other sleep problems that keep them from feeling well rested. When seniors don’t get high-quality REM sleep, they can end up constantly drifting in and out of sleep during the day just because they’re so tired. Getting therapy or sleep aids to address these disorders can help seniors feel better rested during the day.

Changes to the Brain

Parkinson’s disease causes changes to many structures in the brain that are supposed to regulate sleep. The gradual loss of dopaminergic cells in the brain and the associated lower levels of dopamine can greatly alter a senior’s normal sleep cycle. Making more of an effort to practice good sleep hygiene, such as sleeping at the same time every day and avoiding artificial light at bedtime, may help seniors counteract some of these changes. In some cases, Parkinson’s medications can also be a way to overcome sleeping difficulties and help seniors feel more alert.

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 home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Medication Side Effects

Most seniors with Parkinson’s have to take several medications to address their symptoms. Certain medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can have sleepiness as a side effect. In some cases, there are medication alternatives that don’t cause extreme tiredness, so seniors concerned about this should discuss the problem with their doctors and ask about alternatives.

Fatigue from Movement Disorders

2019 research cited in Movement Disorders found seniors who had severe movement disorders were far more likely to experience fatigue and sleepiness. This happens because the shaking, twitching, and involuntary movements associated with Parkinson’s require energy. Just like going for a run every day, all this motion can wear a senior out. Getting enough to eat during the day and taking medication to address these symptoms may reduce fatigue.

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. Coral Gables, FL, 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.

Digestive Problems

Seniors with Parkinson’s tend to have a lot of difficulty with nighttime urination, constipation, and diarrhea, which can have a huge effect on sleep. Seniors who are constantly having to wake up, get out of bed, and go to the bathroom might not get enough rest at night. The constant interruptions can further exhaust seniors by keeping them from going through the deep REM cycles needed for high-quality sleep.

When you understand the causes of your loved one’s sleep issues, you can be better equipped to 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 elder care. Coral Gables, FL, 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. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at 1 (305) 964-5636 today.