Studies show most adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep every night to ward off fatigue and to stay alert throughout the day.
Unfortunately, lack of quality sleep is common in people with neurological conditions and can have a number of health implications. Insomnia, snoring and sleep apnoea in particular are common in people with or without MS and can be caused by anxiety, stress, depression, reactions to some medications, and continence issues.
If you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, or aren’t sleeping for long enough, try these five tips for a better night’s sleep, recommended by our occupational therapists.
- Get regular: Set a regular rhythm by going to bed and getting up at the same times, even on your days off and on weekends. This gives your body a guide to work from and trains your body on when to be awake and when to be asleep.
- Get up and try again: If you still can’t sleep after about 20 minutes, get up and do a relaxing or boring activity until you feel sleepy, then return to bed and try again. Try reading a book or guided relaxation.
- Avoid stimulants: Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes four-six hours before going to bed. Caffeine and cigarettes block chemicals in the brain that help induce sleep. Whilst alcohol helps you feel sleepy and get to sleep, it prevents you from dropping into a deep sleep. This leaves you more likely to wake up feeling groggy and tired.
- Exercise: Regular exercise helps to promote sleep by ensuring you feel tired when it’s time to go to bed. Avoid strenuous exercise four hours before bed, as this can have the opposite effect.
- Sleep rituals: Develop rituals and associations that remind your body it’s time to go to sleep. These can be things like doing stretches or meditation 15 minutes before bed, having a warm shower, or drinking a cup of caffeine-free tea.
Article Source: MS Society SA & NT. Read more here.