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Sleep Med Rev. 2003 Apr;7(2):115-29.

Parkinson's disease and sleep.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Madrid, Spain.


Sleep disorders are common in Parkinson's disease (PD), as almost two thirds of PD patients report them. From a clinical point of view, they can be classified into disorders of initiation and maintenance of sleep (DIMS), parasomnias, and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Among the causes of DIMS are degenerative changes in the CNS affecting centers for sleep regulation, persistence into the night of daytime PD-related symptoms, concomitant medical or psychiatric disease, disruption of circadian rhythms, and effects of dopaminergic (and other) medication on sleep regulation. Parasomnias might further contribute to sleep disturbance, as they can be accompanied by motor desinhibition during REM sleep. Parasomnias can precede by several years the presence of daytime PD symptoms. EDS has been over the last years the focus of attention for both sleep and movement disorders specialists, due to the fact that it might predispose to traffic accidents. However, the so-called "sleep attacks" never occur without preexisting somnolence. Thus, a careful sleep history can be helpful to determine which patients are exposed to suffer them. Although EDS was initially attributed to the effects of dopaminergic medication, it seems likely that several disease-related factors might also play an important role. An adequate education of the PD patients in sleep hygiene measures and a skilled use of the medication seem necessary to prevent sleep disturbance.

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