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September 1994

Sleep Disruption in Parkinson's Disease: Assessment by Continuous Activity Monitoring

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology (Drs van Hilten, Kamphuisen, Roos, and Messrs Hoff and Middelkoop), the Academic Hospital, Leiden, the Netherlands; the Departments of Medical Statistics (Dr van der Velde) and Physiology (Dr Kerkhof), State University of Leiden; and the Department of Neurology, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo (Dr Wauquier).

Arch Neurol. 1994;51(9):922-928. doi:10.1001/archneur.1994.00540210094018

Objective:  To assess differences in activity and immobility during sleep between patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and healthy subjects and to evaluate the relations of clinical variables with the motor activity measures in patients with PD.

Design:  Survey, case series.

Setting:  University hospital outpatient neurology department and urban population in Leiden, the Netherlands. Motor activity was recorded during 6 successive nights at home with a wrist-worn activity monitor.

Participants:  Eighty-nine patients with PD and 83 age-matched healthy controls.

Main Outcome Measures:  For each subject, three mean measures reflecting activity or immobility during the nocturnal period were calculated.

Results:  Compared with the healthy elderly subjects, patients with PD have an elevated nocturnal activity level and an increased proportion of time with movement, indicating a more disturbed sleep. The mean duration of nocturnal immobility periods was similar for both groups. This measure, however, did reflect the self-reported disturbed sleep maintenance in both groups. The daily dose of levodopa or the use of dopamine agonists in patients not receiving levodopa, rather than disease severity, proved to be the best predictors of nocturnal activity.

Conclusions:  We hypothesize that in mildly to moderately affected patients with PD, levodopa or dopamine agonists cause sleep disruption by their effects on sleep regulation. In more severely affected patients, the beneficial effects of these drugs on nocturnal disabilities that cause sleep disruption in PD prevail.

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