Neurology Advisor: Among the various nonmotor symptoms affecting patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), sleep disturbances are estimated to affect 40% to 90% of this population.

A study published in 2020 found that roughly one-half of PD patients had multiple sleep disorders.1,2 Such disturbances in PD encompass a range of disorders of sleep-wake transitioning, including increased sleep latency and fragmentation, as well as parasomnias such as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Multiple studies of PD patients who have undergone deep brain stimulation (DBS) device implantation have collectively revealed increases in total sleep time, total REM sleep, and sleep efficiency; reduced wakefulness after sleep onset; and subjective improvements in insomnia and quality of sleep. Although the underlying mechanisms remain unclear, it is “possible that DBS acts through improving motor symptoms, although some studies suggest that stimulation at specific nuclei may directly alter sleep physiology,” Zahed et al reported.

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