Category Archives: insomnia

Insomnia? Can’t Get to Sleep Until After Midnight?

Is Insomnia a Big Issue for You?

Do you have difficulty getting to sleep until after midnight?  Healing will be obstructed if you have insomnia and are unable to get a good  nights sleep every night.  Many people with Parkinson’s symptoms report they seldom can get to sleep until after midnight or later.  What might be the cause of this?

The Chinese Medicine clock gives us a fascinating clue as to the cause.  Gall bladder energy is strongest from 11 pm until 1 am.  If you have restrictions in your muscles and cramping throughout your body during the day and evening, gall bladder issues are likely to be the cause.  Why would the gall bladder be an issue for people with Parkinson’s symptoms?

The gall bladder is profoundly impacted by stress. Clearly, when stress has flared, symptoms will typically always worsen. Reduce stress. Your gall bladder will thank you. You will also find it easier to get to sleep at night. Easier said than done, right?

Acupuncturists offer a recommendation that may well help you out when you are having difficulty with stress during the day and getting to sleep at night. Massage the sides of your head where the gall bladder channel runs. More specifically, rub immediately above and behind the ears, followed up by squeezing the tops of your shoulders.

While acupuncture itself is not one of the top therapies that people find to be useful for calming their Parkinson’s symptoms, it is an excellent therapy for insomnia and depression, both of which can be significant impediments to recovery for persons diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

I frequent a community acupuncture clinic which offers treatments at a very affordable price. Such clinics are now popping up in many cities and countries. There is no longer a reason to let finances be a barrier to getting acupuncture treatments. It is well worth taking the time to explore this therapeutic option if you have difficulty sleeping at night.

Robert Rodgers PhD
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease


Is there any help/advice anywhere on how to get to sleep?  During the day I mostly only notice right hand and arm shaking but at night every twitch/jerk/shake shows up in both hands and my lower legs and feet.  Not being able to quieten my body means I just can’t fall asleep for hours and hours.  Have tried 5HTP, magnesium etc etc.  Don’t want to go down the sleeping pill route but I’m beginning to dread going to bed!
I use White Willow Bark rather than painkillers but that doesn’t seem very effective.
I guess there are others out there with this  problem so any info or help would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanksAnita 

Medications Not Helping Mom’s Insomnia and Depression

I am in Australia but I am asking you our question on behalf of my mother who lives in Victoria BC Canada and who has been diagnosed with PD about 5 or so years ago. In the last few years she has had her medication changed a few times and each time it has not agreed with her.

Presently she is on Sinemet 25/100 mg 2 tabs 4x per day.  She feels terrible most of  the time and phones me often saying she doesn’t know what is happening to her.  She can’t sleep at night and dreads going to bed. She feels depressed and is reluctant to take additional depression meds the doctors suggest.

The doctors she deals with seem to be very ambivalent and basically either change her dose or refer her to a shrink.  The deterioration is now very bad and it seems these  meds are making her worse not better.  

She has always been convinced she doesn’t have PD and certainly besides slight tremoring in the hands it seems she may have a point.  She does gets restless legs syndrome. We have NO confidence in the doctors where she lives and it is so difficult to get referrals to see someone else in the bureaucratic Canada health system.  

She lives on her own (insists on it), still drives, is 84 years old, tries to take her dog for a short walk everyday and besides reduced mobility is completely sane and lucid.  Some days she is good, usually after she has managed to have a fair nights sleep but generally because of the lack of sleep feels awful.  

Is there someone or some organization in Canada or the USA you can suggest can possibly help her.  She would like to get off the Sinemet as she doesn’t believe it is helping at all. I tend to agree although am reluctant to push her into doing that.  Your assistance and advice would be much appreciated.  

Kind Regards,  



It sounds like your Mom has given prescription medications serious consideration but regardless of what is taken or how much, the medications are not helping her feel better. Thus far she has pursued one option. The good news is that there are dozens of options she can consider that have been affording people with Parkinsons profound relief from their symptoms. Of course the challenge turns on deciding which options to pursue.

Wouldn’t it be incredible if your Mom could find information in one place about many of  the options that are helping people reverse their Parkinsons symptoms? Believe it or not, that golden opportunity will soon be available. Timing on your question could not be better.

You specifically asked if there is some organization in the USA of Canada that might be of help. I suggest that your Mom sign up to attend the 2012 Parkinsons Recovery Summit which will be held this year in Cincinnati, Ohio June 22 and June 23. Health Care Practitioners who treat Parkinsons using many different therapies and treatments will attend the Summit. Many will offer consultations. Some are offering workshops.

You can find more information about the Summit by visiting the Summit website:

Present at the Summit also will be some of the contributors to Pioneers of Recovery who succeeded in reversing their own symptoms.  The Summit will be a historic event for people with Parkinsons, since it will convene together at the same place and time people with Parkinsons who are all on the road to recovery.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

Natural Cures for Insomnia

Having difficulty sleeping? No one approach for getting a good night’s sleep will work for everyone. Here are four natural cures for insomnia that you might consider giving a trial run. I have a strong hunch that one of the four natural cures for insomnia will work beautifully for you. Why not try them all and see which one works best?

  1. Focus on your breath. Breath in for five seconds. Hold your breath for one second and breath out for 5 seconds. Change the time you count to match your comfort level. The rhythm of the breath will quietly sink the tissues of your body into a relaxed state and quiet your busy mind from rattling off babble that does you, your family or your friends no good whatsoever.
  2. Formulate lists based on totally arbitrary criteria. The idea here is not to make lists of tasks you need to accomplish the following day. Making task lists will just keep you wide awake. Rather, formulate lists based on criteria you create for that night. For example, make a list in your head of red foods or animals with long legs or states that grow corn or words that have the letter z. You get the point – send you mind working on random tasks that call your subconscious away from activating worries that keep you awake. Change the task each night. This really does work folks.
  3. Imagine having an experience that is sensually pleasing. The experience of course will differ from person to person. Perhaps you need to float on the warms waters of a Miami beach or meditate on top of Mount Ranier or hike through the ancient forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains or walk barefoot on the warm sand of a Puerto Rico beach. Perhaps you need to fly above the clouds in your imagination or simply sit on top of a cloud. Everyone has their own special place where they feel totally relaxed and comfortable. Go to that place when you are ready to sleep. Enjoy the fantasy. Notice how easy it becomes to sink into a cozy place of deep sleep and relaxation. Celebrate how quickly you sink into a deep sleep.
  4. Tense up, then relax each of your muscle groups. This is a relaxation approach I have personally used with great success since I was a teenager. I tense up my muscles (starting from my left calf) for 5 seconds, then relax them. I do this will all the muscle groups up my body from my feet to my head. It really helps to tense up the muscles in my face since those particular muscles are always tense (from babbling too much I suspect). Once the muscles in your body become fully relaxed, your mind will switch off worrisome thoughts and fears.

Parkinsons RecoveryRobert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons Recovery is possible.


Cannot Sleep at Night: Any Suggestions?

Parkinsons Recovery– Sound Sleeping Suggestions

My husband has PD and he cannot sleep at night.  Any suggestions?



I would like to respond to your question using my own experience as a guide. I have attended a multitude of seminars where health care professionals offer step by step instructions that are supposed to help you sleep. You have probably heard the same recommendations:

  • Go to sleep at the same time every night
  • Don’t watch TV before you go to sleep
  • Don’t eat or drink anything before bedtime
  • And so one and so forth …

Speaking for myself, I can not do these things before I sleep. These routines are too rigid for me. I cannot live my life that way. My life is too unstructured.

Instead I have adopted five simple strategies that do help me sleep well every night.

Ear Plugs. It may sound silly, but many people are very sensitive to sounds. Spend a $1 at the dollar store. Buy some wax type ear plugs (like swimmers use). Put them in your ears before you sleep.

White Noise. We turn on an air cleaner at night when we sleep. It is a soothing way to screen out extraneous noise that can put your hormonal system on alert. Noises that come from unknown places in the dark create fear in the body which is bound to keep you awake.

Darken the bedroom. When we started closing the blinds in the bedroom at night, we discovered it is much easier to sleep. For years we looked out the windows at our beautiful view of the Puget Sound, but at the cost of sleeping at night. Darkening the room promotes sound sleep.

Holosync. This is my personal favorite strategy for sleep, though it is the one recommendation that costs a little money. If I am ever unable to sleep, I pop on my holosync ear phones. I am out in two minutes. I just interviewed Dr. Suzanne Jonas on my radio show last week who has a number of incredible holosync CDs that offer wonderful relief for people who cannot sleep.

Turn Off the Hamster Wheel.  A  frequent reason for being unable to sleep is the hamster wheel of thoughts that are not in our best and highest good. Make it a practice every night when going to sleep to place these thoughts aside for the evening. Tell your subconscious mind not to worry – that you can re-visit those thoughts in the morning. You literally have to stop the hamster wheel from churning around and around. Do it with clear intention and get that deep sleep that is so essential for recovery. 

Parkinsons RecoveryRobert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

© 2011 Parkinsons Recovery.

Urinary Retention and Parkinson’s Disease


I’m reaching out to you today because my father’s Parkinson’s disease is taking a major toll on my mother’s health (his only caregiver) and I need your help. Among the many issues, the main one that my mothers struggles with is when my father wakes up two to three times per night to use the bathroom. My mother has to wake up and help him. I’ve taken care of him many times before and I’ve noticed that while he has the intense urge to go, he doesn’t actually urinate very much. My mother has a full time job and at the age of 63 she is beginning to wear down and become very tired and depressed.

Please, do you have any idea what can be done about this?

I would really appreciate any help!!




Thanks for sending in your question. What a formidable problem you present! In one small paragraph, many issues present themselves. It sounds like your question pertains more to a concern about your mother’s overall health than your father’s PD. Let me first address your mother’s challenge.

I am guessing that your Mom has been sucked into (virtually) full time caretaking (aside from some relief you and perhaps other siblings provide). The job of the sick person is to take the energy from people who are well. Your father is doing his job very well indeed it appears.

The most important job of the caretaker is to take care of themselves.What is your mother doing for herself? She needs time to do what she loves doing. She needs time away from taking care of your Dad. I am of course guessing here – but she probably thinks to herself –

Who else is here to take care of him?

The best answer to this question is another question:

To what extent is your day taking care of himself?

You are asking about a medical challenge your father is facing -  but your father is not writing in about his problem. Has he resigned himself to a dismal fate of continuing ill health and disease? If this is the case, he is sure to manifest his expectation. And if that is the case, your mother is enabling this expectation.

If your Dad is not willing to take care of himself – why should anyone else step up to the plate and assume that role for him? That just dis-empowers him. He will be able to do less and less as the weeks unfold.

People with Parkinson’s who get worse refuse to do anything for themselves other than do what they are told. People who get well insist on taking care of themselves. They experiment. They do research. They try out new therapies.

In my opinion, your Mom needs to begin taking huge chunks of time out for herself. She may be amazed to discover how much your Dad can do for himself when he is challenged to do so. I can assure you that your Dad does not want to make your Mom sick. The best gift she can give to him is to stay healthy. The only way to accomplish this is to break away from him and take time out for herself.

As for the more immediate problem of night time visits to the bathroom…the question turns on what is causing the problem.  What is his body trying to tell him? Here is where naturopaths are wonderful assets. Once the problem has been identified – it can be remedied. The body always knows how to heal itself. Possibilities include:

  • Side effects of medications he takes
  • Dehydration of the tissues (he drinks less because he thinks that will make him pee less)
  • Insufficiency of certain minerals (like magnesium, etc.)
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Inflammation
  • Other?

The problem may be related to the deterioration of your Dad’s neurological system.  When a cup or so of urine has collected into your Dad’s bladder, a signal is triggered from from the physical expansion of the bladder that travels through the nerves located in the bladder wall. This signaling cue is transmitted to nerves in the spinal cord and the brain. The brain in turn sends a signal that contracts the bladder wall and relaxes the sphincter muscle.

As your Dad is able to reverse the neurological damage (if he chooses to do so), it is likely that this signaling system can come back on line.

The solution depends on the cause. Can it be solved? Of course! I interview naturopaths all the time on my radio program who are incredible resources. If there is not one near where you live, you can get help from one of the naturopaths I have interviewed on a long distance basis. You can get to know the naturopaths through my radio program at:

Does your father want this night time problem to be solved? If he does,what is he doing about it? Or, is this really just a problem for your Mom?

The hardest challenge for a son who loves his parents is to honor whatever choices they make. Perhaps your Dad will not take any positive action to help himself recover. As his son, your job is to honor and accept his decision.

Perhaps your Mom will insist on taking care of him to the detriment of her own health. As her son, your job is to honor and accept her decision.

We all get to depart this earth in our own way and time. Who is to say their choices are wrong for them?

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

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