My first few years with Parkinson’s were crazy. Trying to get the timing of the drugs right, the dosages, the amounts, dealing with side effects. Looking back, I think one of the most frustrating aspects to the drugs was how sleepy they made me. But because of the Parkinson’s itself, when everyone else was laying their head on soft pillows at night, dozing into blissful moments of deep sleep and already dreaming dreams, I was chatting online with a new friend who also found herself in my shoes – unable to sleep in the wee hours of the night and morning because we had Parkinson’s disease.
When you think of PD, you usually picture someone shaking, but there’s more to it than that. Like wreaking havoc with your – what was once known as – sleep pattern. Ah, what we wouldn’t give to be able to sleep like a baby again, but that is actually what we do. We sleep like babies. Up and down all through the night, sometimes awaking from bad dreams, sometimes too hot from night sweats, sometimes awaking in fear due to nightmares from the drugs we take.
What to do, what to do.
Here are a few suggestions to making sleep more attainable. Everyone’s different, so what works for some, may not work for all.
- Put on relaxing music. Quietly, as everyone else is sleeping, remember? My daughter can only fall asleep with her ear plugs in and listening to music as she tries to fall asleep.
- Read a book. Preferably a boring one.
- Make sure you’ve taken your medications. If I miss my evening dose, I am almost always guaranteed to have battle with the restless leg syndrome monster and that guarantees me at least an hour and a half more of not being able to sleep.
- There is a plethora of sleeping aides on the drug store shelf. Some recommend one over the other, but it comes down to what works best for you, if they’re giong to be helpful at all. It’s a good idea to run it by your doctor first before adding more drug substances to your mix.
- Essential oils are the rage and there is actually a mixture for sleeping that my daughter introduced me to that you rub on your feet. Her oil rep made her own mixture so you’d have to contact a Doterra rep or someone who knows essential oils.
- Many people are going for other remedies which I cannot recommend given I haven’t and don’t intend to try them, but they swear by their effectiveness (one being medical marajuana).
- Melatonin seems to be a very popular sleep aid for people who find it difficult to sleep and is natural.
- Sleep-time tea, Nighty-nite tea… There are also many teas to relax and help you get to sleep. Check your grocer’s shelves.
- A technique that I have found that works for me is, as I am laying in bed (and maybe oddly enough, I can only fall asleep in one position) I intentionally make my body relax and then begin to pray. It works 100% of the time.
What is your suggestion on sleeping with the enemy – Parkinson’s disease?