- According to the National Sleep Foundation, an adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep each night to be fully functional and alert. A person who does not get enough sleep has a greater risk for the following: increased risk of motor vehicle accident; a greater likelihood of being obese; increased risk of diabetes and heart problems; increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse; and a decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information.
- Most of us with MS, and many without MS, know these statistics very well. We live them every day. Most of us are on medication to help us sleep, which works sometimes and doesn’t work a lot of times.
If you have never had the problem of not sleeping, thank God! If you do, you have a lot of company. It is a very irritating condition that causes a lot of problems, as stated above. It also works against most of the problems that MS patients already face.
Most of us MSers already have a problem remembering things and walking without falling. Sleep deprivation triples those conditions. We also do not need any help with depression, as that is pretty prevalent on its own! Our reaction times are already slow and needs no help. I think most of us try to pay attention, it is just that things don’t always “compute” in our brains so it seems like we aren’t paying attention when we really are trying to.
One of the problems with not sleeping is that you have so much quiet time for thoughts to run rampant in your brain. I think of all the things I wish I could still do and all the things I want to do and hope I will be able to. I worry about getting to the point where my husband will have even more to do as I can do less, etc. Quiet time thinking is NOT a good thing!
I remember people used to tell you to count sheep and it would bore you to sleep. I have counted so many sheep I didn’t know what the number was after that! I have tried butterflies, dogs, cats and everything else I could think of to count. Nothing worked.
I remember reading that Johnny Carson only slept about four hours each night because his insomnia was so bad. I guess he had a lot of time to work up his jokes……….no wonder he was so funny!