Sleep Problems with Parkinson's Disease

People who have Parkinson's disease (PD) are usually left to deal with a range of symptoms that can make day-to-day tasks difficult. Among these is sleep, which is one of our most basic needs. For people with PD, sleep can be disrupted and hard to achieve. Often, those with PD have sleep problems that are caused by the disease itself. Medicines used to treat or help the person with PD may cause sleep problems, as well.

Sleep problems associated with PD usually include an inability to fall asleep, difficulty in staying asleep, uncomfortable sensations in the legs at night (a condition known as restless legs syndrome), and nightmares. In addition, people with PD may act out dreams, perhaps leading to accidents or injuries. Daytime drowsiness also can be a problem.

If you are encountering any of these symptoms, never take over-the-counter sleeping medicines to help the problem without first consulting your doctor. Some over-the-counter and prescription medicines cause or worsen sleep problems, and some of them have serious drug interactions with PD medications.

What can I do to help my sleep problem?

Because the sleep disturbance might be caused by other medicines that are being prescribed to cope with PD, you should consult your doctor about possible alternative medicines that could be used instead that will not interfere with sleep.

A sleep disturbance might also indicate depression in a person who has PD. Depression might bring on fatigue, a changed level of physical and social activity, and a tendency to not sleep soundly or not at all. If these problems persist, you should discuss them with your doctor.

Following are some tips to promote more restful sleep:



This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit or This document was last reviewed on: 10/10/2014