What Sleep Disorders Are Common in People With MS? How To Get Sleep Better? Update 06/2024

It is believed that in order to safeguard nerves in the brain and spinal cord, people with MS lose their myelin coating. When the body’s immune system erroneously targets its own nerve system, toxic inflammation follows.

Involuntary muscle spasms and other symptoms could result if the disease persists. This is conceivable if the problem persists. A wide range of symptoms can result from damage to a specific region of the body.

Nearly a million Americans have multiple sclerosis, and around two-thirds of them have sleep problems. Females are more likely than males to be diagnosed with this condition in their early adulthood, but it can hit at any moment.

In spite of the fact that MS is a long-term condition, it does not always lead to a shorter lifespan. There are several ways to improve one’s quality of life, including improving one’s sleep quality.

How Does MS Affect Sleep?

In addition to multiple sclerosis symptoms, stress and despondency can significantly impair the quality of one’s sleep. Inadequate sleep has been linked to depression, fatigue, and even an increase in the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. In the long run, this could also lead to a deterioration in cognitive function. When treating MS-related insomnia, many factors must be taken into account.

Physical well-being plays a key role in MS and sleep. Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) may find it difficult to sleep at night because of symptoms like muscle rigidity and uncomfortable facial sensations. MS sufferers frequently claim that they are unable to change their sleeping positions as frequently as they would like. Bedsores can be exceedingly painful if you’re restricted to a single position for an extended period of time.

Multiple sclerosis patients are more prone than the general public to experience frequent nighttime urination. As a sleep disruptor, frequently waking up at odd hours to go to the bathroom is detrimental to both quantity and quality of rest. Due to MS-related issues, medication and lack of exercise may negatively impair one’s capacity to sleep.

60 to 90 percent of people with MS complain of fatigue, which might appear months or years before an official MS diagnosis is made (60 to 90 percent) (80 percent to 90 percent ). To describe the feeling of exhaustion that makes everyday chores difficult, the term “fatigue” is used. Sleep deprivation alone may not be sufficient to alleviate this problem.

Despite the fact that fatigue is one of the most debilitating MS symptoms, many people believe it is a normal part of the disease. Fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) might be caused by sleep disturbances, increased melatonin, or pro-inflammatory cytokines, all factors that can affect sleep regulation.

People with multiple sclerosis are often plagued by a combination of physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress. Taking a nap during the day may also make it more difficult to sleep well at night.

What Sleep Disorders Are Common in People With MS

MS sufferers are more likely to suffer from sleep problems because of the disease’s symptoms. People with multiple sclerosis are more likely to suffer from insomnia, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and REM sleep behavior disorder. People may experience different symptoms depending on where and how severe their injuries are in different parts of their brain or spinal cord.

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or receive a good night’s sleep. Insomnia can strike people with MS for a variety of reasons, including physical and mental pain, sleep disturbances, and the need to pee frequently throughout the nighttime hours.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders can cause insomnia and daytime sleepiness because they disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Multiple Sclerosis patients may have irregularities in the synthesis of the sleep hormone melatonin, which may be linked to greater fatigue and circadian disturbances.

When it comes to restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder, there are two distinct classifications to choose from: People who have RLS describe feeling tingling feelings in their legs, while those who have PLMD report experiencing sleep disturbances including twitches or other movements. Distractions from both scenarios may lead to a lack of sleep and exhaustion at night.

This type of sleep apnoea occurs when a person’s sleep is disrupted by frequent interruptions in breathing, and it is the most common form. MS patients with brainstem lesions are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than those without. Constant positive airway pressure can be used in most situations to help regulate breathing. CPAP

In persons with narcolepsy, an episode of severe daytime sleepiness, which may lead to muscle paralysis or hallucinations, is prevalent. Research has connected narcolepsy and multiple sclerosis to anomalies in the lateral hypothalamus, which regulates wakefulness.

During REM sleep, while we are dreaming, atonia, or muscle paralysis, is prevalent. When this function is impaired, people with REM sleep behavior disorder (also known as RSD) act out their dreams, frequently violently or dangerously. In MS patients with brainstem damage, REM sleep behavior disorder is more likely to be present in the brains.

When it comes to sleeping issues, the best people to ask are your doctors and nurses. It is possible for them to conduct polysomnography (a sleep test) and work with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan if an issue is found.

How Can People With MS Cope With Sleep Issues?

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) can enhance their quality of sleep by implementing lifestyle changes. An excellent place to begin is with good sleep hygiene. Maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle can be achieved by adhering to good sleep hygiene practices throughout the day and night. Following these guidelines will help you get a good night’s sleep

Keeping the bedroom calm and serene

preserving the bed as a personal space for sex and sleep

At the same time each day, snoozing and rising

You should set a nightly routine that includes things such as reading or taking a warm bath to help you relax.

At least an hour before going to bed, turn off all electronic devices.

Regularly engaging in physical activity15, particularly in the morning hours

eating a nutritious diet to maintain one’s well-being

exposing yourself to natural light in the morning on a daily basis

Tobacco and caffeinated beverage consumption should be reduced.

It’s better to go to bed earlier and wake up later.

Some aspects of the bedtime routine of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are particularly important. A cooler bedroom temperature is especially important for MS patients, who tend to be more susceptible to the effects of heat than the average person. Even if you don’t consume caffeine or alcohol in the hours leading up to bedtime, it’s a good idea to reduce your fluid intake and use the restroom as soon as possible.

A pressure-relieving foam mattress and a pillow to cushion sensitive areas can help reduce the likelihood of bedsores. It may be helpful if you ask a sleeping partner to aid you in shifting your sleeping posture. Consider talking to your bedmate about how they can help you get some shut-eye if you’re having problems.

Cognitive-behavioral treatment for insomnia may help you sleep better if you are suffering from worry and sadness (CBT-I). Asleep aid may be prescribed by your doctor if you’re still having trouble getting to sleep. Vitamin D or melatonin may also be administered to help you have a good night’s sleep, despite the lack of conclusive proof.
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