Good sleep is important for everyone and is an aspect of life many people struggle with, so there are a lot of resources available. Finding one that works for you is important.
In this section we list some tips you can implement and some services and apps you could try.
People might say, there are days when I’m absolutely fine and days when I’m absolutely rubbish. We’ll ask them, well what’s your sleep like on the days that you’re absolutely rubbish?
Sleep is especially important for a person living with Parkinson’s as poor sleep is one of the things that affects the brain the most. The occasional bad night’s sleep may not make a difference, but chronic sleep deprivation probably will, so it is worth having an approach that works for you.
Professor Colin Espie, Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Oxford and co-founder of Sleepio explains a few simple steps that may help you achieve better sleep:
We can’t expect our sleep to make up for any kind of excess that we place upon our bodies or minds. Sure, sleep is restorative… but there are limits! We have to consider that our lifestyles may be more or less pro-sleep.
Luckily, there are practical steps you can take to make your day more sleep-friendly.
During the day:
• Do physical exercise. Research has shown that people who keep fit and active have a better quality of sleep.
• Eat a balanced diet. A varied diet and healthy weight will have a positive impact on your sleep.
• Restrict tobacco use and avoid alcohol. Cut down on smoking in the evening before you go to bed as the nicotine in cigarettes may make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. On the other hand, alcohol may help you fall asleep at the beginning of the night, but it may put you into a lighter sleep as the night continues so you wake up earlier and feeling un-refreshed.
Prepare your bedroom for sleep:
• Get the room temperature right. The ideal temperature is around 18°C. If you get too hot, you may get restless. Too cold and you may struggle to drop off or have bad dreams.
• Keep it dark. In the late evening, our brains begin preparing us for sleep by producing a hormone called ‘melatonin’. Light at night might inhibit the production of melatonin, making it more difficult to sleep and stay asleep.
• Keep electronic gadgets out of the bedroom. Stop using them at least an hour before you go to bed.
Prepare yourself for sleep:
• Have a wind-down routine. Start relaxing and preparing for sleep at least 60-90 minutes before bed. Plan your routine – but don’t be too rigid or inflexible… it’s a time to relax! Stop any work or intense activity, don’t have any intense conversations and spend some time doing other things before getting into the immediate pre-bed activities of brushing your teeth, putting your pyjamas on, setting your alarm clock, etc.
• Put the day to bed before you put yourself to bed. Think about the day, plan tomorrow and set your mind at rest. If you’re fretting about how much you have to do, write down a realistic To Do list before you go to bed to help you let go of worrying when you’re in bed.
• Go to bed only when you feel sleepy. The number of hours sleep you need is as individual as your shoe size. Don’t assume you need the often-quoted 7-8 hours – in fact, a shorter sleep may mean a better quality sleep.
There are many websites and apps that may help you implement a better sleeping regime. Sleepio is an app which you might want to try to help improve your sleep:
For more sleep tips, you could try Sleep.org: