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Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

How can we help my mum have a good sleep overnight?

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Q. Hello, my mum has been suffering from Huntington’s chorea for six years and she’s just started to have serious sleeping problems – she gets up every 10 minutes at night to go toilet (even though she doesn’t really need to…). She takes medicines daily Haloperidol… What can we do to help her having a good sleep overnight?

Katarzyna, Young Adult, Poland

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A. Hi Katarzyna,

Thanks for this good question, which is quite complicated. There are all sorts of reasons why your mum might be going to the toilet through the night.

She could have a bladder problem (but in this case she would be going a lot in the day too)

She might be sleeping a lot in the day (which makes her awake at night and wanting the toilet because she has got stuck on the idea)

She might have another problem causing pain or discomfort such as toothache or constipation, or hunger.

All this would need to be reviewed by a doctor who knows her but aims should be;

  1. Make sure that she doesn’t have another physical problem that is preventing sleep
  2. Make sure that her daily routine is set to promote good sleep (this is often called “sleep hygiene” and you can find out quite a bit about this by searching it on the web)
  3. If both those are fine and sleep is still a problem, at that stage you might consider medications

I can’t really recommend any medications as I don’t know enough about your mum’s condition or any other health problems or treatments she might be taking. That would have to come from a local doctor.

Best wishes

Hugh