Written by Kelsey Phinney, BS Neuroscience, Middlebury College, 2016
Research inspired by real-life
When I came home from college, my parents sat down to tell me that they had gotten separate beds.
I was uncomfortable finding out about this and I immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was a sign of failure. It took a long talk for me to understand that this was actually a sign of the strength of my parent’s marriage and their ability to talk openly about the best ways to live with my dad’s Parkinson’s.
My dad has lived with Parkinson’s for as long as I can remember.
We are very open about his motor and non-motor symptoms, so I knew that he had rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD). In fact, my parents had told me about a vivid nightmare my dad experienced when I was in high school in which he had to run across the house to protect me from a giant snake that was hiding under my bed.
But he didn’t remain in the dream – he literally jumped out of bed and woke up on the floor. My mom woke up to the sound of him falling off of the bed and hitting the floor. I knew it was dangerous for them and had an impact on their quality of sleep, but I hadn’t thought about his RBD since going away to college.
After discussing their decision to get separate beds, I realized that if I was uncomfortable with this topic, it must be worth looking more into.
I wanted to know more about it, from research to real-life stories, so we can all better understand RBD.
Listen to Kelsey’s Podcast
In her podcast below, Kelsey interviews Dr. Benzi Kluger of the University of Colorado and care partner expert, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, to help you learn more and live well with RBD.
How do I better manage RBD?
Learn more about RBD, including information to help you and your partner manage the effects of RBD.
Learn more about RBD and management tips
Sleep and Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s can affect sleep in many different ways, including trouble falling or staying asleep, vivid dreams, waking up frequently during the night and excessive sleepiness during the day.
Learn more about how Parkinson’s can affect sleep and what you can do to sleep better.
Kelsey Phinney’s dad, Davis Phinney, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when she was five years old and she has been interested in learning more about the brain and ways to help people living with Parkinson’s ever since. Kelsey graduated from Middlebury College in May of 2016 with a degree in neuroscience and is currently cross country skiing professionally in Sun Valley, Idaho.