The process of degeneration that causes Parkinson’s disease symptoms, causes the balance of serotonin and melatonin produced by our body to become disrupted. The main controller of this balance is our hypothalamus, the control centre that is also “in charge” (directly or indirectly) of our fight/flight/freeze response, taste, smell, sense of space and many other autonomic functions.
Conservative western medical research has already shown that those with Parkinson’s disease have reduced serotonin levels, and there is much clinical evidence showing disruption in diurnal rhythms.
There are strategies we can use to improve our sleeping patterns. The best way, of course, is to work towards getting well; but here are some ideas:
Turn off the television or computer at least 30 minutes before bed. These machines disrupt the smooth production of dopamine, and can cause restlessness and wakefulness at night
Meditate for 10 minutes before settling down to sleep. Visualize calmness, peace and a comfortable sleep
Stretch before climbing into bed. Even though this seems as if it will “wake you up”, it actually helps you get comfortable in bed. Stretch all your muscles and, particularly, any limbs or body parts that are stiff or painful in bed
Avoid sleeping drugs as they are mostly habituating and may exacerbate your Parkinson’s disease symptoms
Use a meditation CD or tape playing softly as you drift off to sleep
Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning to firm good habits