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COVID-19 Lockdown Worsened Sleep for Many With Parkinson Disease

December 28, 2020

During COVID-19 pandemic home confinement, nearly a quarter of patients with Parkinson disease experienced new-onset or worsening of sleep disturbances, according to a survey-based study published online in Sleep Medicine. 

“Moreover, new-onset or worsening of sleep disturbances was associated with worsening of motor as well as non-motor symptoms of Parkinson disease and poorer quality of life,” researchers wrote. 

The study focused on 832 patients with Parkinson disease from nine centers in India. Participants filled out a questionnaire, developed and validated by experts, about sleep-related issues and Parkinson disease symptoms during home confinement. Restless legs syndrome and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder were diagnosed with validated questionnaires. 

In all, 35.4% of patients reported sleep disturbances, and 23.9% reported new-onset or worsening of sleep disturbances, according to the study. Among patients with sleep disturbances, 51.5% experienced worsening insomnia symptoms, 24.7% worsening restless legs syndrome, and 22.7% worsening REM sleep behavior disorder.

New-onset or worsening of sleep disturbances occurred most commonly in patients lacking adequate family support during lockdown, when home confinement lasted more than 60 days, and when Parkinson disease was present for more than 7 years, researchers found. 

On the other hand, more than an hour of physical activity a day and new hobbies during home confinement were linked with better sleep among participants. 

Jolynn Tumolo 


Kumar N, Gupta R, Kumar H, et al. Impact of home confinement during COVID-19 pandemic on sleep parameters in Parkinson's disease [published online ahead of print, 2020 Nov 23]. Sleep Med. 2020;77:15-22. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2020.11.021

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