Multiple Sclerosis Mattress Guide
Read our complete guide below
Read our complete guide below
According to the National MS Society, multiple sclerosis (MS), is an unpredictable and chronic disease of the central nervous system. The body’s immune system directs an attack on the healthy tissue in the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
Exactly why MS occurs is still unknown, but potential causes point to environmental, viral or genetic origin. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, MS occurs more commonly in women than men. The prevalence is five times higher in northerly climate zones than the tropics, and it’s twice as likely to affect caucasians than people of other races.
MS, although not contagious or fatal, is still a serious disease that can dramatically decrease quality of life. The interruption of the entire nervous system results in a whole variety of symptoms. Blurred vision, poor coordination, slurred speech, loss of balance, fatigue, numbness, tremors, paralysis, and problems with memory and concentration are only some of the most common symptoms someone with MS might experience. This extreme discomfort from the disease might range from mild to severe. In order to combat such a disease, a good night’s sleep is crucial to the body’s healing process.
Some studies suggest that people with MS experience sleep disturbances up to 3x more than the general population, and are 2x as liked to experience reduced quality of sleep. Because MS affects the nervous system, these disturbances typically manifest with body processes related to appendage movement, bladder control, and breathing.
According to a study led by W. Elon Fleming, MD, at the Sleep Disorders Center at Island Hospital in Anacortes, Washington, the most common sleep disorders in MS patients are nocturnal leg spasms, insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, narcolepsy, and sleep disordered breathing. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is also highly prevalent among MS patients.
Those disorders can briefly be described as:
Any person without additional stressors on their body could experience lack of focus, slower response time, and poor cognitive function in the absence of a good night’s rest. But for a person with MS, deficiencies in Vitamin D, side effects from MS medications, increased napping during the day as a result of fatigue, reduced physical activity, stress, anxiety, and depression can also prevent quality REM cycles.
When you add up all of the factors that prevent a good night’s sleep, it’s no wonder it can be so difficult to achieve. Over 50% of people living with multiple sclerosis report sleep problems, however, there are some tricks that may help alleviate the pain when it comes to sleeping.
Steps to a better night’s sleep if you suffer from MS:
Because sensation and movement is impaired for people with multiple sclerosis, some people may yearn for a special mattress that will prevent the development of bed sores and keep them safe. But what should you be looking for?
Let’s break it down: a mattress can be dynamic or it can be static. A static mattress can be problematic because it can be made of unsupportive pressure-inducing coils. A static memory foam mattress may contour and sink under weight, and be a challenge when it comes to getting out of bed.
An adjustable mattress on the other hand, may fluidize air, alternate pressure, or provide side-to-side turning. This dynamism can better support a person with MS and a variety of their sleep disturbances, while providing a more therapeutic sleep experience.
Heat intolerance is also a big hurdle for people who suffer from MS, and when people with the disease become overheated, their ability to move and sense their environment is diminished. A mattress that prevents overheating and protects the skin is essential to maintain good health and stay asleep. Choosing a mattress that provides a protective surface and cooling properties should be a main focus when considering a mattress.
Once you select your sleep surface, there are a variety of other products that can couple with your mattress in order to further improve sleep quality.