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MS Article or Multiple Sclerosis Article:

MS Insomnia: Can Anything

Help to Reduce Insomnia

with Multiple Sclerosis?


MS Insomnia is often a big problem with a large percentage of the cases of Multiple Sclersosis, that are diagnosed around the world each year.

Multiple Sclerosis attacks nerves or nerve cells throughout out bodies and is known for attacking and causing damage to the myelin sheath that surround, protect and insulate the spinal cord. MS also tends to attack the brain, and in particular the Blood Brain Barrier, which surrounds and protects the brain.  Most cases of Multiple Sclerosis tend to result in damage to the nerve cells thorough out the body, which usually results in scarring after each ms attack, ms exacerbation or ms relapse.

Multiple Sclerosis also weakens the immune system, setting us up to end up with frequent infections more often that are difficult for our bodies to fight back against.  Just about any kind of infection appears to become a possibility for those with MS, but there are certain types of infections that are seen more often in those with Multiple Sclerosis.

MS insomnia can be a big problem when it comes to Multiple Sclerosis.  Sometimes, the doctors are not totally sure what can cause the often extreme Insomnia that is all too often linked to MS.  But, I have my own theories about some of what can contribute to MS Insomnia, based on my own experiences, while battling with my own particular case of Multiple Sclerosis for 12 years.  I did have a period of time, at one point, within the first 5 years of when I was given the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, where I had severe Insomnia.  During the worst part of this period of time with the severe Insomnia, I had a combination of a racing mind, anxiousness, weepiness, being so keyed up that I had a difficult time calming down to be able to lie down to go to sleep, in spite of how physically exhausted I felt every day. I slept whenever I could, since I could not go to sleep at night for months on end and I as only sleeping 3 to 4 hours a day, at the most.

I was willing to try whatever I could find for me to be able to calm down enough so that I could go to sleep.  I felt like I had 2 opposite parts of me that were having a tug of war, where part of me did not want to go to sleep and part of me was too exhausted from not sleeping for 2 or 3 days at a time for me to be able to function much at all.  It is difficult o function, when you find yourself only able to sleep 4 hours each day for 3 or 4 days in a row, before your body gives in to sheer exhaustion and finally just “crashes” for 8 hours and actually sleeps well, before the 4 day cycle starts over again.

 I did eventually find out that this particular period of time of severe insomnia occurred because I was reacting very badly to a medication that I was taking for a more extended period of time that was causing the extreme insomnia.  I have actually had a few periods of time, where I was taking no prescription medications, that I had Insomnia from my MS-related symptoms.  In these particular instances, the Insomnia was definitely related the Multiple Sclerosis symptoms, rather than the result of a side-effect to a medication.

After I was taken off of the medicine that I had developed a side-effect to, it tool months for my system to finally calm down.  Although the insomnia that was caused by the medication finally went away, I do periodically still have a problem off and on with MS Insomnia.

Finding ways for reducing or maybe even eliminating your ms insomnia is so very important for several reasons when you have Multiple Sclerosis.

 Ways to help reduce insomnia in Multiple Sclerosis can include the following:

> boosting the immune system - reduces the frequency and severity of ms infections that you end up with; helps to boost immune system if you can minimize how many infections you end up with

> reduces frequency and severity of ms relapses or ms exacerbations

> gives you more energy

> reduces ms fatigue

> improves how well you sleep

> improves how well your ms brain functions (improves ms memory, ms cognitive abilities, helps you connect with your surroundings better, improves your ability to figure things out)

> reduces mood swings, anxiety, depression, sadness, irritability

Along the way, I did find some supplements, foods and other things that helped to reduce the times that I had a problem with MS Insomnia.

Natural ways:

* 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) or Tryptophan - when it is taken, 5-HTP changes changes form in the body to Tryptophan itself.  This aids for helping to go to sleep and to help the body to relax and rest more.  As an alternative, Tryptophan is also available by prescription. Tryptophan is naturally found din turkey.  That is what makes you feel tired after you eat turkey. 

*  Melatonin - this is a hormone-like neurotransmitter that the brain normally produces. Helps with going to sleep at night. If your brain is deficient in the  neurochemical, it will be difficult for you to calm your mind down to go to sleep at night.  Check with your doctor to see if you need more of this.

Note: Melatonin should only be taken at night, since taking it too close to daylight hours can offset you wake-sleep cycle and make things worse with imbalance to your wake-sleep cycle.

* Inositol - this is a b-vitamin cofactor that help the racing mind to calm down and relax enough to help you to go to sleep.

Vitamins:

* Calcium and Magnesium - these 2 vitamins are usually taken in a ratio of 2:1 but if you have a larger difficiency in magnesium, a 1:1 a ratio may be needed to help relax the over reactive nerves in those with MS.  Check with your doctor to see if you need to take more of either of these. Magnesium helps to relax and calm down nerves. When magnesium is taken with Calcium and vitamin D to increase absorption of the magnesium Extra magnesium is taken if deficient in magnesium.

* vitamin B12 with folic acid - can also help to reduce anxiousness or a feeling of unrest that may also contribute to insomnia. Ask you doctor to test to see if you are deficient in either of these vitamins to see if supplementing with either of these vitamins is advisable for your particular case of ms insomnia.  If you are on any prescription drugs, check with you doctor to see if any type of herbs maybe taken with the prescription drugs that you are currently taking.

Before using any vitamins check with your doctor to see to see if your doctor can test you for vitamin deficiencies to determine which vitamin deficiencies you may be having a problem with that warrants taking supplements or changing your diet or adding extra nutrients through juicing or grinding whole foods (especially leafy greens such as kale) for your particular case of Multiple Sclerosis and other possible conditions.

Herbs should be taken with more caution, since some herbs are potentially not good for certain types of conditions and can be dangerous to take, in some situations, if you don't know enough about herbs to know which ones can be taken together and which can not be taken together.

Before taking any herbs check with your doctor to see if there any of the herbs listed in this article are recommended for your particular case of MS.  You can also check with a doctor or check with a herbologist for more information about which type of herbs are recommended for use with each condition that you are experiencing or for helping to reduce the ms symptoms that you many be experiencing.

Herbs

Possible Herbs that can help with reducing MS insomnia can include (but not all at once -- take only what you need for how severe your ms insomnia - check with your doctor to determine which of these you can use and in what combination are they needed for your particular condition related to your case of Multiple Sclerosis:

* Valerian Root - helps make you drowsy enough to go to sleep and help with making it a more restful sleep (works better than most herbs that I have tried).

* Skull Cap

* Hops

* Kava Kava - helps to promote sleep.

Most of these supplements can be taken in combination, for different reasons, to calm down the various symptoms that can accompany Insomnia, in many cases of Multiple Sclerosis, but anything that is listed in the above list needs to be discussed and supervised by a medical doctor, since too many of these type of supplements can overlap in how they react in the body. You need to locate a doctor that has training in the use of supplements for  MS insomnia, including vitamins, herbs and other natural remedies, so that this doctor can determine what combination of natural supplements can be used safely for your particular case of MS.

In addition I found that yoga, along with meditation and deep relaxation breathing also helped tremendously, for relaxing my system, to reduce insomnia. Yoga can be done following an audio (CD), video (DVD or VHS) or using instructions or you can do the yoga from following printed material to guide you on how and what particular poses and exercises may help to reduce your particular set of symptoms from MS-related Insomnia.

I find it easier do the yoga by following a the combination of audio and visual instructions through following a DVD or VHS yoga session so that I can see how to perform the yoga poses and exercises, while being giving verbal instructions on what to do next. I found that after I did the yoga for at least a week, I finally started to be able to relax enough for me to be able to go to sleep. I did find that some of the yoga poses were much more difficult for me to do at first, but this also helped me to use up the excess energy that I appeared to have most days, which helped me to calm down more easily for me to be able to go to sleep after doing the yoga. The yoga poses that I found to be more difficult the beginning did gradually became easier for me to do, as I did the yoga on a more regular basis. Yoga also helped to reduce the frequent leg spasms, increase flexibility, increase muscle strength (especially of the trunk muscles around the front and back of the waist) and increased my ability to balance.

Depending on which MS symptoms were out of control that were contributing to the Insomnia, the yoga, meditation and taking supplements can all help with reducing insomnia and helping those of us, after being diagnosed with MS, to be able to relax more and to calm down to be able to go to sleep. Yoga can help relax your body through slowing down your breathing. Yoga can also help to create more flexibility, help to strengthen muscles, and help to increase balance (both physically and mentally). Taking the supplements does help for calming down the nervous system. Meditation can work more quickly at calming down your overall nervous system, and reducing the over reaction of our bodies to stress. Sometimes a combination of things (meditation, yoga and supplements) are needed to be more effective in getting more restful sleep.

Even if you are not experiencing MS insomnia, currently, doing yoga can help to increase your flexibility, balance, strength and peace of mind. I have found that for me that doing yoga can help reduce many of the overall symptoms of MS and help your body to function more, if the yoga is done more regularly over time.

Meditation also helps to reduce the racing mind that sometimes contributes to MS-related Insomnia, that can be a big problem in many cases of MS. Meditation helps so much more than Yoga, as far as reducing how MS can cause our nervous systems to "short circuit", all too often, in response to stress.

MS Meditation is often thought of to require a large amounts of time, effort and commitment for you to reach a point of "inner peace" of mind and to relax your nervous system. I have tried several different types of meditation, since meditation helps to calm down the over reactiveness of my nervous system, which can also help to reduce other MS symptoms that are related to the over reaction to stress.

But through my own "trial and error" with different types of meditation, I have found a much better type of meditation that uses tones to stimulate the part of the brain that controls how we respond to stress. This type of meditation helps to reset the "set point" of what is considered stress in our brains. This type of meditation works more quickly, is much more effective and doesn't require huge amounts of time and effort for you to receive the good results that are associated with meditation.

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