Sleep problems


My 80-year old mother has Parkinson’s, which seems to be managed fairly well with Sinemet, energetic walking, voice and other physical therapy.   However, since the death of my father a couple of months ago, my mother has been experiencing frequent (1-4 times/ week) disturbed sleep.  She will get to sleep at bedtime without a problem, but then wake suddenly at 3 or 4 am with a feeling that she is struggling to breathe.   It doesn’t feel like choking or an obstruction, more like a pressure on her chest.  She feels as though she needs to sit up and concentrate on breathing, and then she generally cannot get back to sleep.   This doesn’t seem to be associated with muscle spasms, rigidity, restless leg, nightmares or the need to urinate.   She is able to nap during the day normally, and on those nights that she can sleep, she wakes feeling rested - no stiffness or discomfort to speak of.     Her heart rate and blood-oxygen level seem normal during these episodes, and her GP and cardiologist are convinced that this is not caused by her heart or lungs.  Has anyone heard of this kind of experience associated with Parkinson’s?  We’re desperate to find how to narrow down the possible causes, and see if we can help her alleviate this problem.


Hi Neddy

Though it doesn't mention this problem specifically, our Q&A on sleep and nighttime problems might be helpful to you and your mother. 

Do take a read. If you can't find what you're looking for there, do contact a nurse on our helpline at 0808 800 0303.