Sleep is crucial for multiple sclerosis patients. Insomnia plagued me for nearly 20 years. Sleep was often elusive. Some excruciating nights I laid awake listening to night sounds, tired beyond belief and yet unable to sleep. “Sleep disorders may be at the root of the most common and disabling symptom of the disease: fatigue.” (UC Davis) Seventy percent of the 2,300 participants screened by the study had at least one sleep disorder. “Sleep disorders may affect the course of the disease as well as the overall health and well-being of sufferers.” (UC Davis)
The National MS Society asks: Are you “sleep-deprived”? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may not be getting enough good quality sleep.
* Do you feel sleepy, grumpy or “down” during much of the day?
* Do you fall asleep as soon as your head “hits the pillow”?
* Do you sleep less than 7 hours every night?
* Do you still feel tired even after having 8 hours of sleep or more?
In addition to insomnia the other potential sleep disorders include: narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep apnea, and periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). The causes may be physical and chemical changes that occur in the brain of MS patients, lesions, pain medications, depression, anxiety, and more.
The MSRRTC has an excellent review of multiple sclerosis sleep issues at: http://msrrtc.washington.edu/info/factsheets/sleep#SleepProblems. Check out their site for daytime and nighttime suggestions for better sleep.
Years ago I was prescribed Tramadol at a low dose for sleep aid. As long as I take it 30-45 minutes prior to bedtime, my insomnia is mostly under control. On difficult nights I put lavender oil on the bottom of my feet with good results. Image from: www.lifesciencesindex.com.