Sleep Tips for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Sleeping problems are not limited to any certain type of person. Insomnia or the inability to get a good, restful sleep is a problem that plagues millions of people. However, when you add the disease multiple sclerosis, MS, to the equation, it leads to even more of a dilemma. Sleeplessness is just one of many symptoms of MS which is a disease related to a nerve disorder.

However, it must be pointed out that insomnia and other sleep issues are not necessarily a direct result of the MS but rather stem from secondary symptoms such as depression, stress, anxiety, spasticity or even lack of physical activity which some MS sufferers have.

The spasticity in particular can cause sleeplessness and a fitful sleep when it affects the legs. Think restless legs syndrome amplified several notches and you might get an understanding of why spasticity is a problem.


The disease MS also increases the need to urinate, especially at night. Any number of other MS factors could be causing the insomnia. Your doctor should be your first resource for help in combating this problem. You must have rest in order to be able to deal with your MS; otherwise fatigue will simply get the best of you more often than not. Getting a handle on a good nights sleep is imperative and you should make it a priority.

Tips for Getting a Good Nights Sleep

Many tips for getting a good nights sleep will also work for many other problems as well. The first priority is establishing a night time ritual. Having the same routine will definitely help and trigger an unconscious letdown of the body. Rest and relaxation should be your mantra; dump all your stresses at your front door and do not worry about tomorrow.

If you are tired, go to bed. Do not try to stay up so that you can visit with friends or your spouse. This is your MS talking; if your body says go to bed, then go to bed. Choose something comfortable to sleep in that wont get tangled around your legs or body. Adjust the temperature in your home before turning down your bed and fluff up your pillows just so.

Stop Trying so Hard

If after fifteen minutes you are still awake, get out of bed and find something relaxing to do whether it is reading a book, writing a letter or work on your knitting. Doing something active that engages your brain (not television) will help build up that tiredness. When you feel sleepy again, head for bed.

To ensure that you will feel tired at bedtime, do not take a nap during the day. Also, try and exercise during the day as it can help you with feeling tired enough to sleep at night. Do not eat right before bed or have any caffeine about four hours before bed. Also, avoid alcohol about four hours before bed and reduce your beverages in the evening to try and cut down the need to go to the bathroom.

Cigarette Free Hours

Nicotine products will keep you up and restless at night so avoid them for several hours before bed. The old glass of warm milk does work on occasion before bed but try this sparingly as it might necessitate a bathroom break in the middle of the night and disturb your sleep. Some people swear by chamomile tea or even taking the herb valerian. However, before using any herbal remedy, check with your doctor to ensure that it does not interfere with any of your MS medications.

If you have gone through the whole litany of suggestions, talk with your doctor about your insomnia or inability to get any rest at night. He may refer you to a sleep specialist in light of your MS or even prescribe a mild sleeping pill. Sleep and rest are vital when you have MS as is helps fight off fatigue.