Multiple Sclerosis and Fatigue: It Could Be a Sleeping Disorder

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If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, then chances are you are also experiencing some level of fatigue. Many people suffering from MS are also at high risk to develop either acute or chronic fatigue.

Because of the availability of treatment plans, it is important that MS patients should be able to distinguish the difference between fatigue and tiredness.

sleep fatigue in a car in the daytime

Tiredness can and will happen to everyone, and is something to be expected after going through a rigorous physical or emotionally draining activity. With tiredness, your body is restored after a good night’s sleep.

On the other hand, fatigue is a constant feeling of tiredness and a lack of energy that cannot be resolved with sleep.

MS and Sleeping Problems are Common

Multiple sclerosis is a long-term disease that severely impairs the brain, the spinal cord, and the central nervous system. With MS, the brain has difficulties sending and receiving messages to the rest of the body.

This disease is immune-mediated, meaning that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks certain parts of the body that are needed to properly function.

The imbalance associated with multiple sclerosis also affects sleeping habits and sleeping patterns, which is why there is a lot of sleeping disorders often associated with MS.

Sleep apnea happens when you stop breathing while sleeping, and is characterized by loud snoring. Nocturia is also another sleeping disorder observed with people who have MS, which is the frequent urination caused by an overactive bladder.

Periodic limb movements, or involuntary movements or spasms while sleeping, can also happen. A person suffering from MS may also experience hypersomnia, a condition in which

a person finds it difficult to stay awake during the day.

Study Finds Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders Present in 70% of MS Patients

A study headed by Steven Brass, director of the Neurology Sleep Clinical Program, says that the fatigue experienced by people with MS can be due to an undiagnosed sleep disorder.

The study covered around 2,375 people with MS. More than 70% of the people that Brass’ group surveyed had a sleeping disorder, and almost 38% suffered from obstructive sleep apnea.

Brass’ research also emphasized the importance of a correct diagnosis when it comes to MS patients who have sleep disorders, in order to combat fatigue at its source.

Signs of MS Sleeping Disorders

If you have MS and you frequently feel fatigued, watch out for these warning signs:

-Excessive tiredness all the time

-Excessive daytime sleepiness

-Difficulty in falling or staying asleep

-Frequently waking up at night


-Morning headaches


-Lack of energy

-Unexplained weight gain

Treatment for MS Sleeping Disorders

The first step to overcoming fatigue is to establish the cause of it.

Knowing where the fatigue is coming from is already half the battle won. By knowing the cause, you can seek a more effective treatment.

When it comes to sleeping problems, there are lots of sleeping aids available in the market today. Sleeping pills are one of them but they only offer temporary comfort and do not address the real cause of the problem directly.

They can also be a habit-forming activity which can become a problem later on.

Another treatment to look into is a polysomnography—a sleep test where you are monitored overnight while sleeping. A device is hooked to your body while you sleep to track down your brain activity.

If sleep apnea has been diagnosed after examining the results of the polysomnography, then the next step would be to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to help improve the quality of your sleep.

What Diagnostic Testing Determines

Aside from knowing whether or not you have sleep apnea, there are a couple of other ways that a polysomnography will help you.

It can determine the number of times you wake up at night. It can establish the oxygen level you breathe in while sleeping, and what stage of sleep you go through each night. More importantly, it will help diagnose if you have other sleeping disorders.

You can count on Sleep Rite to expertly conduct a comfortable and convenient sleep study in order to identify the cause of your sleeping problems. By arriving at a correct diagnosis, you may now seek the right treatment and medication for your fatigue.

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