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3 Ways Sleep Benefits MS Symptoms

By Daryl H. Bryant (492 words)
Posted in Living with MS on October 17, 2012

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{#/pub/images/Sleeping_Woman.jpg}Multiple Sclerosis is a debilitating disorder that attacks and destroys an essential membrane that covers axons in the spinal cord and brain. Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis can experience loss of memory, paralysis and issues with bladder control, bowel control, vision and balance. Some individuals with Multiple Sclerosis experience only mild symptoms and are able to lead active lives. Other Multiple Sclerosis patients experience flare-ups of symptoms that leave them incapacitated. The good news is that sleep can benefit Multiple Sclerosis symptoms in three major ways.

  1. Sleep Fights Flare-Ups
    Individuals who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis may benefit tremendously from getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Experts have found that a lack of sleep can trigger flare-ups and can cause symptoms to worsen. It is also recommended that individuals with Multiple Sclerosis take two-hour naps during the day if they feel fatigued during the day. Missing those extra hours of sleep just once can cause your body's inflammatory response to increase, leaving you with increased symptoms.

  2. Sleep Can Resolve Symptoms Quicker
    A lack of sleep can lead to stress and quickly worsening symptoms because of your body's increased inflammatory response to fatigue. Sleeping can help relieve the symptoms quicker since you will be well rested and less stressed. Feeling fully rested can also alleviate other common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, such as memory problems and moodiness. Sometimes sleeping and resting in bed for as much as 12 hours or more a day can help resolve the symptoms.

  3. Sleep Eases Fatigue
    Fatigue in itself is one of the debilitating symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. It can be exasperated by not allowing your body the sleep that it requires each night. While it has been thought that the severity of fatigue is an indicator of how far the disease has progressed, Pennsylvania State University researchers have discovered that sleep disturbance and depression were actually stronger predictors of fatigue in patients with Multiple Sclerosis than disease progression itself. There are several sleep disorders associated with Multiple Sclerosis, such as insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep disordered breathing, nocturnal leg spasms and restless legs syndrome. Patients who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis also experience difficulty getting enough sleep at night due to pain and frequent urination caused by medications. Battling these sleep disorders and problems to improve patients' sleep is essential to improving the lives of individuals who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis.

It is apparent that adequate sleep plays a significant role in living a rich and full life with Multiple Sclerosis. Individuals should speak with their doctors as soon as possible about potential ways to treat any sleeping disorders that are preventing them from getting a full night of rest. Patients who are not suffering from sleeping disorders but still find themselves unable to sleep at night may consider taking to exercise, yoga, meditation or other relaxation methods to help them rest their minds and bodies.

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