MS and Sleep Problems
Insomnia is a new and frustrating MS symptom for me. I’ve never had any problems before but just lately I’m having trouble getting a good, restful night’s sleep.
Often in the afternoons I hit a wall and fatigue descends like a fog around me. I was at work the other day and felt an irresistible urge to put my head on my desk and sleep. I pushed through it and carried on but inside I was counting the hours till bedtime. I had loads of stuff to do between work and bedtime so by the time I went to bed I was sure I’d drift off easily and feel great in the morning.
Wrong! I closed my eyes gratefully and snuggled down but my body had forgotten to tell my brain I was exhausted! It was like it was pinging around in my head, thinking and running away with itself all on its own! I put up with this for hours (the last time I looked at the clock it was 2.15 a.m.) but eventually fell asleep.
At 3.30 I woke up again with the same mental gymnastics going on. I got up and went to the bathroom and eventually fell asleep again a few hours later. When the alarm dragged me out of oblivion at 6.45 I felt like I’d been out dancing all night! I got through work in a daze of exhaustion and the same thing happened the following night.
So what’s going on and what can I do?
Causes of Sleep Problems
According to Web MD, sleep problems are common in people with MS, but often aren’t directly caused by the disease. Factors like stress, depression, anxiety and spasticity and inactivity can cause sleep difficulties. It is, however, possible for lesions in the brain to cause problems with getting your Zs as well.
I’ve certainly been under stress lately, starting a new job and going to London to attend an MS Brain Health Advisory board meeting must be taking its toll. I suffer with MS spasticity, too, but don’t take the prescribed Baclofen for it as the side effects include muscle weakness and fatigue, both symptoms I could do without!
Spasticity only really affects me in the morning though, and usually sorts itself out by lunch time. I’m not inactive these days and don’t allow myself to suffer depression but can see how these things can affect MSers.
Next page: tips for getting a good night’s sleep.