Sleep, Sleep Disorders and How to Sleep Better


Considering there are so many physical symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis, including debilitating fatigue, it is interesting to me that there is a absence of research in the area of sleep and MS. We know that a lack of sleep can have a variety of negative side effects on the human body, so it would make sense that for an MS body, sleep is incredibly important.

Sleep Deprivation:

Sleep deprivation can put an individual at risk for autoimmune disease. Even just mild insomnia will increase risk of autoimmune disease by around 50%. Specifically, when dealing with sleep deprivation, the risk of rheumatoid arthritis goes up by 45%, Sjogrens syndrome by 51%, ankylosing spondylitis by 53% and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) goes up by a whopping 81%. Those are pretty incredible statistics.  One study discussed findings that stated when the sleep cycle is disrupted, there is an increase in T cells in the body. T cells are immune cells, and are implicated in many autoimmune disorders. When there are too many T cells, the immune system becomes overactive and starts causing problems, like autoimmune disease.

Sleep and Multiple Sclerosis:

It’s clear that not getting enough sleep can affect your life in a multitude of ways, and you probably didn’t have to read this article to know that either. But how else can sleep affect us, especially the MSers? I know from personal experience, as I bet you do too, that after a night of fitful sleep, I just feel worse. I experience my MS symptoms stronger and I have a lower tolerance for them as well. Research is showing just how important sleep is to individuals with MS. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin are discovering that during sleep a specific brain cell called oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) doubles during sleep versus during waking hours. These specific brain cells are responsible for the production and repair of myelin. I’d say that’s a pretty important thing for us!

Sleep disorders in people with MS are largely undiagnosed. However, 38 percent of people in a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine stated they had moderate to severe insomnia and as much as 52 percent stated it took them over an hour to fall asleep. Nevertheless, only 4 percent of those people reported being diagnosed with a sleep disorder.

Types of insomnia:

Initial insomnia:

  • This is when an individual has difficulty falling asleep initially. Pain, spasticity, medication or anxiety can make it difficult for someone to fall asleep.

Middle insomnia

  • This occurs when an individual wakes up in the middle of the night and struggles to fall back to sleep. It seems that people who experience more fatigue during the day can experience more middle insomnia, the reasons for this are unclear at this time.
  • Middle insomnia can also be caused by noctouria, or waking up due to having to go to the bathroom or blood sugar changes.

Terminal insomnia

  • This type of insomnia occurs when someone wakes up too early. The correlation between this insomnia and MS are not quite understood.

So what can we do about getting more sleep? Thankfully, there are many things we can do!

  • Get daily exercise. Even if it just taking a walk, doing yoga or light stretching, any exercise can be helpful to your sleep patterns.
  • Avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol after 12pm or in the afternoon.
  • Get exposure to natural light during the day. This will make sure that your circadian rhythms are in check!
  • Make a bedtime routine and stick to it. Include a bed time, relaxation and no electronics!
  • Keep your bedroom cool. Having the temperature lower will help you sleep better!
  • If you can’t fall asleep, don’t lay in bed forever. This will increase your anxiety and make it even harder to fall asleep. Instead, get up and read a book, color, do some other activity that will relax you, but not wind you up. No TV!

“Just get more sleep” isn’t as easy as it sounds. Stress, spasticity, pain and depression can all impact quality and quantity of sleep. Finding ways to control the symptoms that disrupt our sleep is key in improving quality of sleep and therefore quality of life.

Have you found something that works for you? I’d love to know! Leave a note in the comments and tell me about it!

Want to be kept in the loop and know what’s going on? Join the LissMS community here!

I’M ALISSA!

I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.hey there,

follow along on Instagram:

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!
...

39 41
Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out. 

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set. 

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS. 

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went. 

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all. 

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for. 

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving. 

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking: 
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it” 
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat

Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out.

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set.

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS.

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went.

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all.

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for.

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving.

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking:
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it”
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat
...

16 4
Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband 
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister 
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day 

This is possible because: 
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure 

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going. 

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!! 

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body, 
Have energy to spend on your friends and family, 
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS. 

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE… 
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!

Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day

This is possible because:
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going.

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!!

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body,
Have energy to spend on your friends and family,
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS.

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE…
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!
...

39 2
If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness. 

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc. 

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors? 
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where. 

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first. 

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others. 

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself. 

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and 
discarded for voicing her needs. 

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent? 

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors. 

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life. 

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how. 

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details

If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness.

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc.

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors?
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where.

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first.

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others.

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself.

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and
discarded for voicing her needs.

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent?

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors.

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life.

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how.

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details
...

52 10
It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life. 

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too. 

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens? 
Being mean and judgemental to yourself. 

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself. 

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action. 
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling. 

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable. 

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right? 

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again. 
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡

It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life.

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too.

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens?
Being mean and judgemental to yourself.

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself.

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action.
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling.

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable.

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right?

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again.
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡
...

12 0
One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression. 

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status 
- Education 
- Health care access
- Your community 
- Economic stability 

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters. 

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!

One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression.

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status
- Education
- Health care access
- Your community
- Economic stability

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters.

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!
...

35 5
Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡

Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡
...

21 2
The food we eat can have a powerful impact on our MS symptoms and how we feel.

It’s not a magic bullet- because nothing is.

But, there is incredible potential for healing and improvement.

If you’re not quite ready to follow a “diet template”, like The Wahls Protocol or Autoimmune Protocol, that’s ok. 

Focus on getting some of these foods on your next trip to the store:

🥗Brightly Colored Fruits & Veggies 
🥬Deep Leafy Greens 
🍤Seafood & Shellfish 
🥜Healthy Fats
🥩Organ Meat

Each of these different types of foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help support cellular functions, immune health and even help with myelin formation.

Not eating any of it? That’s ok!
Start with adding a serving or two here and there.
Ideas: 
✨Have a salad with dinner
✨Toss some veggies in your breakfast egg scramble
✨Have some olives or nuts as a snack instead of chips

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to help improve our MS symptoms & progression with diet & lifestyle interventions.

Each thing you’re doing matters.

It may seem like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you it is.

Keep going!
🧡🧡

The food we eat can have a powerful impact on our MS symptoms and how we feel.

It’s not a magic bullet- because nothing is.

But, there is incredible potential for healing and improvement.

If you’re not quite ready to follow a “diet template”, like The Wahls Protocol or Autoimmune Protocol, that’s ok.

Focus on getting some of these foods on your next trip to the store:

🥗Brightly Colored Fruits & Veggies
🥬Deep Leafy Greens
🍤Seafood & Shellfish
🥜Healthy Fats
🥩Organ Meat

Each of these different types of foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help support cellular functions, immune health and even help with myelin formation.

Not eating any of it? That’s ok!
Start with adding a serving or two here and there.
Ideas:
✨Have a salad with dinner
✨Toss some veggies in your breakfast egg scramble
✨Have some olives or nuts as a snack instead of chips

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to help improve our MS symptoms & progression with diet & lifestyle interventions.

Each thing you’re doing matters.

It may seem like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you it is.

Keep going!
🧡🧡
...

19 6
In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.

In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.
...

62 9
This is my challenge to you over the next week.

Take some time and think about this past year.

All you’re proud of, all you’ve accomplished. And if you have some things that don’t bring you joy, be proud of yourself for making it through in one piece and still being here.

Reflection is a great way to cultivate motivation to keep going..

You’re doing amazing.
You’ve done amazing.
Let’s keep going.
🧡❤️🧡

This is my challenge to you over the next week.

Take some time and think about this past year.

All you’re proud of, all you’ve accomplished. And if you have some things that don’t bring you joy, be proud of yourself for making it through in one piece and still being here.

Reflection is a great way to cultivate motivation to keep going..

You’re doing amazing.
You’ve done amazing.
Let’s keep going.
🧡❤️🧡
...

22 4
Comparison is the thief of joy.

Regardless of what you see others doing,
you’re right where you should be.

❤️🧡❤️

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Regardless of what you see others doing,
you’re right where you should be.

❤️🧡❤️
...

26 10

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