We all love a good night’s sleep but living with a long-term health condition can present obstacles when it comes to get a restful seven hours a night. Multiple sclerosis (MS) can bring on fatigue in some people, along with insomnia and other symptoms that may impact the quality of your sleep. Pain, bladder issues and spasticity are common causes of disrupted sleep for those living with MS and your GP or MS nurse will be able to help find ways to manage those particular symptoms.
Around 85% of MSers reported to have sleeplessness, with 79% saying that this is a weekly occurrence for them. Poor sleep can worsen other symptoms of MS too, which is why we’ve got a few suggestions below to help bring some harmony to your bedtime routine and drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Choosing relaxing scents can change the atmosphere of your environment, and a diffuser is a great way to do this. There are a few essential oils that help with great sleep, including lavender, valerian, bergamot, chamomile and clary sage. You can create your own dreamtime blends and turn it on a little while before you go to bed. If a diffuser isn’t your thing, try a pillow spray for a simple solution.
Avoid screens directly before bed
It’s all too easy to scroll social media before bed these days, but it’s recommended that you put your phone or laptop down 30 minutes before bed. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can affect the amount of melatonin, the sleep hormone, that is produced. It’s time to pick up that book from your bedside table for some time to unwind!
If you’re a light sleeper or often wake up in the night, you may find blackout blinds or curtains and an eye mask a worthwhile purchase. Being exposed to light sources makes you more likely to stay awake after waking during the night as it can affect your circadian rhythm and melatonin.
A comfortable bed
It goes without saying that a good mattress and comfortable set of pillows makes getting those z’s in much easier. Refresh them every so often so that your back and neck are well supported. Seasonal duvets also help if you regularly wake up hot or cold, and a 13.5 tog duvet is a good option to use all year round. If you’d like to win a new set of pillows, make sure you head over to our Instagram account, where we’re running a giveaway to win a plushy pair of pillows, courtesy of the Mattressman.
Praised by many for a whole host of reasons, a weighted blanket could become a life changing investment to better sleep. Weighted blankets should be 10 per cent of your body weight and have been reported by many to improve the quality of their sleep and how quickly they fall asleep. The results relating to MS will differ from each person, however it may benefit those with symptoms such as spasticity and restless leg syndrome.
Derived from hemp, cannabidiol (CBD) is non-psychoactive and known to help relax muscle pain and spasms. Available from high-street retailers, it is available as tinctures and topical varieties as a health supplement. You can find out more about cannabinoids and MS with our Choices booklet here.
If your MS is affecting your sleep daily, due to medication side effects or other symptoms, speak to your GP or MS nurse. They can advise the best course of action for you and help get your sleep back on track.