The objective of this questionnaire-based survey was to evaluate the prevalence and causes of sleep disturbances in 90 nondepressive patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and 71 age-matched healthy subjects. We also assessed the prevalence and characteristics of excessive daytime sleepiness (both groups) and excessive fatigue (PD patients).
A high prevalence of sleep disturbances in PD patients was found; this is to a large extent probably the result of aging. As compared with controls, patients had a more severely disturbed sleep maintenance because of nycturia, pain, stiffness, and problems with turning in bed. The prevalence of excessive dreaming is similar in both groups, but altered dream experiences almost exclusively occurred in PD.
Patients rated themselves more often to be morning-types than controls. This finding may account for the reported adaptation effects in experimental settings and the reduced REM latency in PD patients.
The prevalence of daytime sleepiness was similar in both groups. Excessive daytime sleepiness showed a clear diurnal pattern with a peak in the early afternoon. As for excessive fatigue, the majority of the patients did not report a preferential time for this symptom. Our findings further argue against an association of fatigue with any circadian factor, and instead suggest a relationship with the motor deficits of PD.