Sleep disturbances in Parkinson’s disease

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Disorders of sleep and daytime alertness are frequent in Parkinson’s disease patients and arise from a number of diverse factors. The most common complaint of night-time sleep disturbance in Parkinson’s disease is sleep fragmentation. Sleep fragmentation can be associated with recurrent parkinsonian symptoms, the effect of medications, concomitant medical disorders such as nocturia, or psychiatric disorders such as depression or anxiety. Likewise, nocturnal sleep disturbance may arise from sleep apnea, periodic limb movements of sleep, or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder. Nocturnal sleep deprivation may lead to excessive daytime sleepiness. Other potential sources of daytime sleepiness include the effects of medications or disruption of central sleep mechanisms due to the pathologic processes of Parkinson’s disease itself. Diagnosis of sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness requires a direct interview of the patient and the caregiver, and may involve consultation with the sleep specialist or medical physician. Treatment is aimed toward improving night-time sleep and daytime drowsiness by addressing the causative factors.