burnout-384080_1280Getting adequate sleep of 7 – 8 hours a night is vital for mental and physical repair and wellbeing a daily necessity that many people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) struggle with. Sleep is needed to;

  • Repair cells in the nervous system and the body
  • Increase immune function
  • Metabolic function
  • Hormone regulation etc

There are 5 stages of sleep including;

  1. Light drowsiness
  2. Slightly deeper = start of laying down memory
  3. Start of deep sleep
  4. Deep sleep = growth and cell repair
  5. REM (rapid eye movement deep sleep) = Increased brain activity, dreaming, memory and learning consolidation

The body aims to achieve five cycles of the 5 stages of sleep a night.

People living with MS have an increased risk of sleep disorders and disturbances including;

Sleep disorders;

  • Hypersomnia
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • REM disorder
  • Narcolepsy

Sleep disturbances include;

  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Pain
  • Postural care
  • Temperature regulation
  • Nosie control and mange more

To improve you sleep try the following;

  1. Untitled designRoutine and timing;
    • Get up and go to bed at the same time each day
    • Have meals at the same time and avoid eating 3-4 hours before going to bed
    • Take regular 10-20 minute rest breaks through the day
    • Perform stimulating activities in the morning
    • Perform relaxing activities towards the end of the day
  2. Environment;
    • Dim lights 30 minutes prior to going to bed to increase melatonin levels
    • Ensure the bedroom is dark
    • Screens off – no use of mobile phones, laptops, tablets or TV’s in the bedroom and 30 minutes prior to going to bed
    • Set room temperature at 22°C
  3. Pain and Postural care;
    • Aim for symmetry
    • Pad the gaps
  4. Lifestyle;
    • Diet – routine and reduce caffeine and high sugar processed foods
    • Reduce and stop smoking
    • Reduce alcohol intake

If sleep remains and significant concern of yours you need to seek expert advice from either an Occupational Therapist and / or a sleep study.