Sleep Issues

6 Ways to Improve Sleep with MS

Jackie Ho Feb 11th, 2014 (updated May 3rd, 2016)
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More than half of those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis report having sleep problems, according to the MS Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (MSRRTC). Most sleep problems occur not as a direct result of MS but because of secondary factors, including stress, depression or inactivity. Here are some techniques people with MS can use to help them get a good night’s rest.   

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Maintain a schedule
Maintain a schedule

For people with MS, the amount of sleep you get is just as important as when you go to sleep. It's important to establish a schedule of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day in order to set your biological clock. Even on weekends, you should strive to get up no more than one hour later than you do during the week. 

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Have a ritual
Have a ritual

Even before you go to bed, get into the habit of going through the same ritual every night. This might include reading some light material, listening to soothing music or doing a crossword puzzle. The bedtime ritual, however, should not include any activities that are too physically or mentally stimulating.

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Control your environment
Control your environment

Your bedroom should be at quiet, dark and set at a cool temperature. Most research shows that the ideal temperature for the bedroom is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the bedroom dark and free from noise will help minimize disruptions and ensure a deeper sleep.

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Watch what you drink
Watch what you drink

Avoid drinking alcohol and limit caffeine consumption to the morning. Drink enough fluids during the day but not before bedtime. Make sure to urinate before going to bed to avoid having to get up in the middle of the night.

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Exercise
Exercise

Exercise can help with sleep, but not too close to bedtime. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends exercising about four to six hours before bedtime to be most effective. But speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.  

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Write it down
Write it down

It is important that people with MS avoid doing anything too stimulating close to bedtime—including thinking too much. If you find yourself worrying or going over in your mind things you have to do the next day, try creating a list of worries or a “to-do” list to help put your mind at ease.