Neuroscience is a never ending map helping us explore the mysteries of the brain, in which with every new answer, many more questions arise. One of the biggest challenges of today’s medicine is regarding neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by the destruction of brain cells and the nervous conducting system - such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson’s disease etc. as life expectancy, longevity and quality of life are not the same.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that causes troubles with messages through the nervous system. In addition to the typical tremor and shaky movements, people with PD have a hard time moving smoothly. It’s like the control center wires got tangled, so common practices become hard and even impossible. These changes are also expressed during sleep, in a similar path to the ones happening while being awake. Unwanted movements are initiated during the REM stage of sleep, reactions to dreams are not depressed as they should be and lead to the development of disorders, such as insomnia and daytime sleepiness.
Not surprisingly, this is a two-way street. Not only that PD affects sleep, but also sleep takes part in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease. Numerous studies have shown a significant relationship between a lower quality of sleep and the generation of PD. Furthermore, the quality of sleep influences the progression of the disease - high quality of sleep can slow down the progression and help manage the symptoms.
Complaints about sleep can also be a pre-indication of PD, Circadian rhythm and sleep issues are tightly correlated to Parkinson's disease, and often arise prior to the presentation of typical motor deficits. It’s worth mentioning that other related diagnoses can be made by mistake on the basis of sleep deprivation symptoms, such as gastro-intestinal issues, mild cognitive impairment, concentration difficulties and several mental states. This is not the only field in which we find correlations between symptoms yet conclude very different conclusions, therefore a good night’s sleep can not only help manage the symptoms, but can be also crucial for correct diagnosis and proper treatment.
Wishing you a good night’s sleep
And the best health