General Question

mathwhiz1's avatar

Does cerebral palsy affect the way a person sleeps?

Asked by mathwhiz1 (264points) January 1st, 2010

I have CP and I’m wondering if that’s why I have trouble falling asleep on some nights. It’s not a good feeling when I see the clock saying 10:00, then 11:00, then 12:00, etc.

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3 Answers

Harp's avatar

It certainly can, for a few reasons. There’s the problem of getting comfortable enough to fully relax long enough to fall asleep. If you have a lot of muscle spasticity, then any position may not be comfortable for long. Also, if you have frequent involuntary spasms, those can keep you from settling into sleep. And there may be a neurological issue; especially if you have occasional seizures, there may be some disruption of the brain’s normal sleep patterns.

This is not at all uncommon with CP, and your doctor may be able to address your particular problem.

Good Luck!

dpworkin's avatar

If it is only on certain nights, you might want to consider the possibility that there is also something else operating that is disturbing your sleep. You can ask your physician if he or she thinks you should rule out a sleep disorder that is unrelated to CP.

Darwin's avatar

Doctors have long known that folks with CP are more at risk for sleep problems. Children who have cerebral palsy have neurological problems that may contribute to seizures, and uneven motor development, both of which can affect the sleep cycle. As @Harp said above, sleep problems can ensue because of the discomfort while sleeping. Poor motor control can contribute to sleep apnea.

In addition, some people with CP have emotional or attachment problems because they need so much help in accomplishing daily tasks. Thus, if left alone to sleep they begin to worry and then cannot sleep.

Physical therapy can help with muscle pain. Medication can help with seizures. Light sedatives, melatonin, or anti-anxiety drugs can also be helpful.

You need to talk to your doctor about why you are having trouble sleeping. He/she can order sleep studies and prescribe treatments that can help.

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