Liz Scott (May 2014)

Spring is here at last!

20140321_Liz Scott_005C_SMALLIt’s been a long wet winter, but let’s hope we can put all that behind us now.

It is often the case that when you see lots of people with Parkinson’s there is a common theme.  This month a lot of people have mentioned problems with sleep.

Difficulty in getting to sleep and staying asleep is a common problem, as is sleeping too much.  What helps both problems is getting out into the bright light and the fresh air.

This is because sunlight stimulates the production of melatonin which we know is low in Parkinson’s.  Bright light helps with alertness and well-being.  It helps the brain to distinguish day from night.  We have all noted how much better we sleep after a day spent out of doors.  Keeping awake during the day and asleep during the night is what everyone wants.

If you do not sleep well at night but nod off a lot during the day, try to keep awake.  Get up and do something if you feel sleepy, go for a walk or, if this is not possible, phone someone up.  If you find it difficult to go to sleep, wait until you feel sleepy before going to bed.  Do not have any drinks containing caffeine after 6pm.

A really helpful booklet about sleep entitled Sleep and Night-time Problems (B070) is available from Parkinson’s UK (T: 0845 121 2354 or E: resources@parkinsons.org.uk).

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