I’m Sleeping Better These Days, but Why?

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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I had a great night’s sleep the other night. I fell asleep quickly and slept straight through the night for nearly seven hours. When I got up in the morning, I felt refreshed, which is exceedingly rare these days. Plus, it even happened a few more times in the past few weeks.

So, what changed?

I’ve been sleeping in the same bed with the same blankets and the same wife for years. I haven’t made the bedroom any darker, the television is still flickering late into the night (a requirement for my wife), and I wasn’t thinking any fewer sleep-robbing thoughts on those nights. So, what then?

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Check the thermostat

Maybe it was the bedroom temperature. My wife likes to have the thermostat set to 72 F, which is too cool for me. But recently, the weather has turned chilly, meaning no need for air conditioning. Instead, the nights were ideal for opening the windows. It was 68 F in the bedroom when I got out of bed on those mornings. Was the lower temperature the reason I slept so well?

According to the Sleep Foundation, an organization funded by companies in the sleep industry, the ideal sleeping temperature is 65 F. Our body temperature drops a little at night, and lowering the room temperature may send a signal to our brain that it’s time to sleep, the foundation noted on its website.

Sleep psychologist Dr. Michelle Drerup agrees, suggesting keeping the bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 F.

“It should be cool, dark and quiet to enhance your sleep,” she noted in an article on the Cleveland Clinic’s website.

According to a study by researchers at Japan’s Tohoku Fukushi University, being too warm increases wakefulness and decreases slow wave and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM is the deep sleep during which people dream.

Sleep issues are a big MS problem

Sleep deprivation is a serious concern for many people with MS. According to the MS Association of America, more than half of us experience some sort of sleep problem. I’m surprised the number isn’t higher. Bladder problems can wake us, and restless legs and cramps can prevent us from dozing off. That’s certainly been the case with me.

I’ve tried medications to help my bladder and leg problems over the years, which has helped sporadically. But over the past year or two, my trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night have decreased from two or three to one or none on most nights. Much of that I attribute to being treated with Lemtrada (alemtuzumab).

I haven’t had as much success quieting my restless legs or easing their cramping, but those symptoms also improved after we dropped the bedroom temperature. So, we’ll keep that room chilly at night and hope my improved sleep will continue.

Now, if I could just keep that darn cat from jumping on the bed at 4 a.m., I might be able to sleep even better.

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


David Kallman avatar

David Kallman

Some nights I get only two hours sleep. The rest of the night I’m just laying in bed with my eyes closed waiting for morning. The time I spend waiting has been the same as sleeping, and I’m refreshed in the morning.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi David,

I'm sorry to hear of your sleep problems but it's great that you can get the same affect lying in bed awake, with your eyes closed. It would be interesting to see what a sleep study shows of your brain activity during that time.


Mary Ellen Miller avatar

Mary Ellen Miller

I am experiencing the same thing! I was having terrible trouble falling asleep during the pandemic, and truthfully, my life still hasn’t changed much since last year. But my window is always open now and it’s blissfully chilly! I’m always hot so my thermostat stays at 68F. I was taking multiple drugs to sleep and didn’t feel rested. Now I don’t have to.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Mary Ellen,

That's great. It was 70 degrees in my bedroom last night and I slept 8 straight hours. I awakened and rolled over a few times during the night but nothing forced me out of bed and I fell back asleep right away. I've definitely slept better over the past several nights in a colder room.


Phyllis Flax avatar

Phyllis Flax

My husband is freezing all the time so if I turn the temp in the room f=down he is freezing. Any suggestions?


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