44 msfocusmagazine.org If your sleep issues are because of personal habits, the National Sleep Foundation offers some recommended options forhelping to get on a healthier sleep routine. 1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Set a specific bedtime and a specific wake time, even on weekends. 2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, preferably away from bright lights. 3. Avoid naps. 4. Exercise daily. Even light exercise is better than no activity. 5. Evaluate your room. Ensure that your bedroom is cool, dark, and devoid of distractions. 6. Evaluate your mattress and pillows. 7. Stop using laptops, smartphones, or tablets in bed; and avoid heavy screen use before bed. 8. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed, go into anotherroom, and do something relaxing until you are tired and ready to sleep. By following these steps, you will create a separation between your sleep state and your active state. This will help keep your body’s natural “clock” working properly, and should make falling and staying asleep easier. If your sleep-related issues are because of MS symptoms, talk to your healthcare team about symptom management. Eliminating those troublesome symptoms, or reducing their effect on your sleep, should be a main concern. In some cases, relaxant and sedative medications may be prescribed, but these are meant for short-term use and usually come with physical and cognitive side effects. If conditions such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or depression are the main factors behind your sleep issues, there are options for you. Always discuss these kinds of symptoms with your healthcare team. If you suffer from sleep apnea, which is when your breathing is interrupted during sleep, resulting in waking several time during sleep, the most common treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This device keeps your airways open while you sleep. For people struggling with insomnia or depression, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a trusted option. This therapy works to change patterns of thinking and behavior by replacing unhelpful thoughts and behaviors with more adaptive ones. For those dealing with restless leg syndrome, which is characterized by an insatiable need to move your legs, self-care is typically the first-line treatment. This might mean more leg activity during the day or before bed, orregularleg massages. Medication can be prescribed in certain cases where self-care fails to alleviate your issues. While many New Year’s resolutions may revolve around diets, exercise, or eliminating your pesky nail-biting habit, achieving a better sleep routine and getting better overall sleep should be at the top of your list. No matter what issues may be affecting your sleep, there are solutions to help. After all, some of the best weapons to use against MS are a well-rested body and mind. So, evaluate your situation, talk to a doctor, prepare your bedroom, and start getting some better sleep. Symptom Management