Non-prescription sleep and pain supplements
Various antihistamines and herbal supplements – such as those containing valerian or melatonin – have shown in some instances to improve sleep, though there have been no widespread studies (particularly in people with Parkinson's) and there are no guarantees. There is some emerging research to suggest that over-the-counter cannabis oil (check your country's regulations) could provide relief from anxiety and sometimes pain, as well as improving sleep quality. This research is in its early stages, however, and if you decide to try this option your best approach is to speak to your doctor for advice to ensure it doesn't affect your other medication or symptoms.
Note – Please consult with your doctor before undertaking any herbal supplements as they may conflict with other medication you may be taking, or with other symptoms you are experiencing. In addition, your doctor may have an opinion as to whether the sleep issues are caused by another problem related to Parkinson’s (in which case taking a sleep aid may not be beneficial).
Many complementary therapies exist that target problems affecting sleep issues such as anxiety or rigidity and joint pain. Pressure therapies such as acupressure and shiatsu have also been shown to promote sleep in certain instances. Take a look at our Complementary therapies section for more information.
Sleep aids and gadgets
There are many gadgets and apps on the market which claim to help you sleep – most are untested scientifically. Approach them with caution and, if you do decide to try them, only do so after you have addressed your basic sleep hygiene and traditional health needs, in conjunction with your doctor or neurologist. While sleep apps can be interesting, they might actually increase anxiety about sleep in some instances. For a list of interesting aids and resources for sleep see our Further resources page.
Articles from Parkinson's Life online magazine
- 3 complementary therapies for Parkinson’s disease and sleep