Article on BBC linking lack of sleep with myelin damage

Interesting article on the BBC website (Sleep 'boosts brain cell numbers' - BBC News) about how lack of sleep can affect myelin repair. Obviously they discuss the link with MS.

What’s intersting is that I have have suffered with insomnia for years - could it be a symptom or (partial) cause? A trial would be nice - I’d be up for it!


Hi Sarah. Very interesting, but personally that theory just wouldn’t hold for me. I’ve been a proverbial cat my whole life; I can sleep any time, any place, anywhere! There are indeed some very interesting theories about. Personally, I am interested in the role of the stress hormones, Noradrenaline and Cortisol on the myelin making cells of the brain. Unfortunately, stress is something I have suffered from my whole life- I worried about everything! and I’m convinced that played a factor in my demise! Tracyann x

It’s an interesting article and if there’s any truth in it I can stop worrying about my son’s risk of developing MS later in life as he certainly got plenty of sleep during his teenage years lol!!!

Tracey xx

I’m both stressed and have occasional bouts of insomnia (sometimes self inflicted if I have a good book on the go) - is there any hope for me??


There was an article yesterday on the BBC about drug funding for rare diseases - I posted it in the PPMS section as we get nowt. Even Fampyra has to be paid for privately which seems a bit mean as we’re never going to get better, a chance of some improvement seems only fair?! If anyone has input it’s one of the articles they are researching…

Sonia x

As someone who thinks herself lucky if she gets 3hrs sleep a night - and thats after taking sleeping pills [Zopiclone and Amitriptyline] without l do not sleep at all. This article is more then interesting to me.

Interesting Sarah! my ms first showed itself after the birth of my first child. She never slept at all and was a very hard work baby. I had very little sleep and was exhausted. She is a lovely teenager now though!

I also have a theory about stress being a part of it as i always have been a worrier like Tracyann and had a very stressful childhood.



Interesting but I don’t believe it to be honest.

I’m with Tracey on the stress thing being something to do with the cause.

When I was d/x in 2005 I was asked whether I had had a lot of stress previous to d/x. Well. Where do I start??

Divorce in 1990, hubby made redundant in 1992 which led to repossession in 1994, bankruptcy in 2003 which made us homeless with 2 babies then diagnosis. Makes you wonder doesn’t it? I remember my consultant saying “well that’ll be it then”

Shazzie xx

Interesting. I’m probably permanently sleep-deprived, as I’ve always kept very late hours, since my youth - just the natural way I’m wired. I am hopeless in the mornings, but have never been able to understand why anybody wants to go to bed at 10:00, which to me means the evening’s just starting.

I’m sure, like all these things, it’s just one factor amongst many, so I’m not going to beat myself up for having “given myself” MS, or even potentially making it worse by still keeping late hours now. I’m not sure there’s very much you can do about it, if you’re naturally a night person, and always have been.

From time to time, I try going to bed earlier, but either I just lie there counting sheep, or I’m up again after a restless hour or two, searching for a book to read, video to watch, or something interesting on the computer.



I reckon stress plays a major role in determining the onset of MS. I was dx in 1996 a year after my son was born. In the 6 months before his birth my husband had got a new job abroad and was only making it home every other weekend. I was teaching full time,coping with a 2 year old and trying to sell our house. Then the baby was born and was a terrible sleeper so I was up all night with him and then had to be awake all day for my toddler. Finally sold the house,resigned from my job and moved abroad to be with my hubby only to start getting the first symptoms and then dx with MS. I’m sure the stress of those monthes triggered the MS. So maybe the sleepless nights also did contribute, they definately made me more stressed.Cathy

It would certainly be interesting to see if the could be a link between sleep and MS. I’ve had insomnia for years, and still have trouble sleeping (like spacejacket) even after taking sleeping pills etc.

I suppose it’s just another one of the mysteries - but perhaps one that could easily investigated? (more so than drug therapy - surely running a sleep clinic trial with people with MS with or without sleep issues could be much more easily done?)


It would certainly be interesting to see if the could be a link between sleep and MS. I’ve had insomnia for years, and still have trouble sleeping (like spacejacket) even after taking sleeping pills etc.

I suppose it’s just another one of the mysteries - but perhaps one that could easily investigated? (more so than drug therapy - surely running a sleep clinic trial with people with MS with or without sleep issues could be much more easily done?)


I think major negative life events could well be implicated in developing MS. That would certainly tie in with my experience!!

Hi, I found Teresa’s reply very interesting, as I started with MS symptoms after the birth of my first child. Although I had vision problems during the pregnancy, my son was born 3 weeks early and wanted feeding every 2 hours. He’d sleep for half an hour, have a feed then stay awake for about an hour before nodding off again and the whole cycle would start again. I’d just have time to make and drink a coffee! I also think that stress and poor nutrition have a lot to do with illness. I had a stressful childhood plus my husband works away from home and I have to cope with a lot on my own. No wonder I’m ill. Heather

Hello Heather! I agree with you. At the time my nutrition was very poor because of my baby daughters demands i was not eating very well at all. My stress levels were high at this time also because my mum went into hospital for surgery and i was also back and forwards to the hospital with a new baby having had no sleep!

It was a time of massive stress with my mum and coupled with only getting an hours sleep at a time. My daughter was only 5lb 12oz because i was so sick during pregnancy and fed every 2 hours also.

My childhood was full of stress because when i was 7 my dad was killed in a road accident. My mum had a very hard job bringing us up on her own as she was a very young mum.

As you said Heather - there is no wonder we are ill!

Take care


Isn’t the article talking about repair during sleep not suggesting lack of sleep as a cause of MS?

Maybe the reason we MSers get so sleepy is because our bodies are trying to repair themselves? Just a thought. :slight_smile:

Really interesting article. I’m possible MS (2 episodes but non-specific MRI findings) and I sleep like the dead - though my last job about 5 years ago I had to cope on 5 hours sleep a day because of travel and study.

In terms of stress and lifetime events well where do I start…

oct 2008 - my x partner attacks me (it ended up being a court case).

April 2011 my new partner loves me but is not sure he wants to marry me. His mother then who has cancer falls more ill and he moves to Denmark so relationship on hold and I’m supporting him through difficult time.

Sept 2011 I find out from the police his brother has been burned and killed in a car crash (he was 24). I have to break the news to him whilst he’s looking after his dying mother. The worst thing I’ve ever had to do! Completely horrific as I was close with his brother.

1 week later his mother dies. In the midst of this I also find out a girl who he had been keeping in touch and meeting with was his X (she was the love of his life in his late teens). I’d confronted him before early on in our relationship whether she was an X and he’d said no.

I was very upset as I felt I’d put everything on hold to support him, with no knowledge as to whether we had a future together and he had lied to me ( difficult as we are different religions and being 29 I had a lot of pressure from my family to meet guys and marry - someone of the same religion in particular). I would have no issues if he’d been truthful from the beginning about this girl being an X and them just being friends, but it made me doubt everything. Why had he lied? After going through a previous bad letting someone get close had been difficult and I felt he’d really let me down. Hard as of course he was going through his own turmoil losing all his family, so I couldn’t turn my back on him.

My life at the time felt like a bad soap opera!

My symptoms started unnoficially with L leg stiffness April 2011, neck spasm July 2011, then oct 2011 my 1st obvious symptoms that ended up with my neuro referral (parasthesia L hand and foot and L lip and chin, bladder issues).

Anyway there is a silver lining at the end of it. Me and my partner are getting married - it all came right in the end :slight_smile: After going through so much we both realised we didn’t want to be without each other. But I have since still had further episodes and symptoms. So v happy with life/ career but health still declining. I have another review with my MS neuro end of sept - so hoping I can get some further answers and a clearer diagnosis.

So can life changing events and situations trigger off MS or MS relapses - I guess maybe, well it would fit with my situation anyhow if I eventually get a definite diagnosis.



Very interesting article. For the past couple of years I have suffered from insomnia and I have just been released from hospital from a probable first major MS episode from which I haven’t recovered.

I wanted to add a different view on both life experiences and sleep. I have had a (relatively) easy life and mostly have slept well throughout my life. But I was diagnosed with MS in 1999 and have deteriorated a lot since then - not in the stressful periods in general. For example, I was diagnosed when my first child was 6 months old, but he was a very good baby who hardly cried and went through the night at 3 months (even though he was breastfed). I didn’t see much deterioration when I had a much screamier baby, but started to go downhill much faster when that child was 3. My first noticeable MS relapse happened at this time, which was 3 months before my mother got very ill. I have slept fine all the years since diagnosis, with a slight hiccup very recently, when I came off Clonazepam (which I had been taking for 3 years to stop leg twitching at night, without realising it is, amongst other things, a powerful sleeping pill).