Staying positive with MS

Sleep

One of the major key factors in MS for most people is fatigue. It is both a symptom, and something that aggravates symptoms.

How is that fair?!

The most obvious answer to fatigue is sleep. On an off day, I  might sleep for eight hours, then take an two or three hour nap, and still get to the end of the day exhausted. This is not a sustainable lifestyle for myself, or for most anyone else. Obviously quantity is not the answer. It does not fit with a full life not dictated by MS, which is what I choose to live.

I’ve found myself drinking more coffee and tea at my current job than I ever have before. I know this is a common solution for many people who just can’t seem to get going in the morning. Studies show that, while there is a short boost in alertness from caffeine, the crash at the end of your caffeine high is longer than the high was, and consuming it too late in the day can interfere with your sleep that night.

I have other days when I fall asleep quickly, sleep soundly for seven or eight hours, and wake up fully rested. That tells me that it is not the quantity of sleep that helps deal with fatigue, but the quality of sleep you get. This subject is getting more attention these days, and there is a lot of information available if you do a search for it. The thing that was most useful for me in sorting out what works best for me was being an early adopter of WakeMate, a wristband that would track your sleeping and wake you at the optimal point in your sleep cycle. The most useful part of the product for me, though, was how it recorded your sleep patterns and made them available for analysis later. With this, I was able to experiment with all of the different solutions for sleep, and have direct measurable feedback on what works for me and what doesn’t. While the exact hardware I used is no longer available, a quick search returns a number of other newer options that provide the same functionality. I highly recommend looking into one of them if you want to learn how best to deal with fatigue. I will go into more detail later on what methods worked for me.