Multiple Sclerosis: A Daily (and Nightly) Challenge for A Million Americans
Nearly 1 million Americans are living with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune disease that impacts the central nervous system and leads to a wide range of symptoms. While symptoms of the disease can vary greatly from person to person, nighttime issues, poor sleep, and sleep disturbances can be particularly prominent:
- Fatigue: MS-related fatigue can interfere with sleep quality, leading to a restless night and daytime sleepiness.
- Nocturnal muscle spasms and cramps: These involuntary muscle contractions can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep. Additionally, muscle stiffness—a common MS symptom—tends to worsen at night. Some individuals may also experience restless leg syndrome, characterized by an uncomfortable sensation in the legs, often leading to an irresistible urge to move them, which can make it challenging to find a comfortable position for sleep.
- Problems falling asleep and staying asleep: Bladder dysfunction, including increased frequency and urgency, can disrupt sleep by causing frequent awakenings to use the bathroom. This leads to fragmented and restless sleep.
- Chronic pain and sensory disturbances: These also worsen at night and make it harder for people with MS to find a comfortable position and maintain a restful sleep. Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the extremities can be particularly bothersome during nighttime, potentially causing discomfort and sleep disruptions.
Addressing nighttime issues in individuals with MS is crucial for promoting better sleep and overall well-being. Strategies such as practicing good sleep hygiene; managing pain and muscle spasms through medication or physical therapy; and addressing bladder dysfunction can all help. Another very important piece of the puzzle is creating the best sleep environment possible, including a comfortable bed and bedding.
Can Silk Bedding Help Alleviate MS Symptoms?
Because we are not medical doctors, we reached out to Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, MD, MS, Medical Content Expert at SleepingOcean.com and a graduate of Tufts Medical School who also holds a Master’s Degree from Harvard University. We asked Dr. Hsu whether silk bedding could be helpful for managing typical symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
“Generally, silk bedding can be a good auxiliary tool when trying to handle MS symptoms,” Dr. Hsu wrote. “Natural silk sheets are smooth and friction-free, helping MS patients with limited mobility shift in bed more easily. Silk sheets are also breathable and moisture-wicking. This results in improved comfort and, potentially, increased sleep quality (especially when compared to synthetic sheets). Silk is also hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin, which can be beneficial for MS patients who experience sensitivity or tingling.”
Of course, this comes as no surprise to us at Mulberry Park Silks, where we regularly tout the health and wellness benefits of our wonderful silk pillowcases, sheets, bedding, and accessories..
Mulberry Park Silks Bedding: A Better Sleep Environment to Minimize MS Symptoms
Along with feeling luxurious and looking absolutely beautiful, our pure mulberry silk sheets have many properties that Dr. Hsu noted above:
- Smooth and Friction Free: Our silk sheets are made from 100 percent pure mulberry silk in a smooth charmeuse weave that is soft and lustrous on one side with a matte finish on the other. This smooth weave feels wonderful and makes it much easier to move and change positions without “dragging” as can happen on cotton sheets. This can also help caregivers move patients with MS more easily.
Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD and Medical Advisor at healthreporter.com, elaborates: “Silk is lighter on your body’s pressure points, which makes it great for providing relief from muscle stiffness,” she says.
- Breathable and Moisture Wicking: Silk is breathable and naturally temperature regulating, keeping hot sleepers cool in warm weather while providing warmth in the winter. Silk also wicks moisture away from the body to maintain optimal body temperature and dryness. This is an important benefit for people living with MS, who may experience heat sensitivity or have difficulty regulating body temperature. (Note: only silk has this moisture-wicking property. Cotton is absorbent and will stay wet after sweating. Read about the difference between silk and cotton sheets here.)
- Hypoallergenic: Silk fabric is spun from the fiber of the silkworm’s cocoon, a naturally pristine, protective environment. Silk is inherently resistant to mold, dust mites, and other contaminants and is ideal for anyone with sensitive skin or dealing with conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis. We also take the extra step of ensuring that our silk bedding—and all the silk we produce—is certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® as independently tested and found safe from harmful chemicals. Learn more about this rigorous certification here.
While silk bedding looks beautiful and feels luxurious, the most compelling reason for anyone to sleep on silk is improved sleep quality; you can read more about how our silk bedding promotes a good night’s sleep here. Deep, restful sleep is essential for everyone, and even more so for individuals with MS, who can experience fatigue and insomnia. Our silk bedding is smooth, soft, luxurious, and a wonderful environment that fosters a comfortable night’s rest.
Mulberry Park Silks Bedding: Easy to Care For
Living with an illness that affects mobility such as MS makes chores and tasks of daily living more challenging. And nobody enjoys high-maintenance bedding. That’s why we’re happy to share that Mulberry Park Silks sheets are easy to care for and can be washed right in your machine at home with no need to dry clean! Just use an enzyme-free detergent (we recommend Heritage Park Silk and Wool Laundry Detergent); place your sheets and pillowcases in mesh wash bags; and wash in cool water on a delicate or “silk” cycle. Silk sheets can be hung to dry indoors or outside away from direct sunlight (never put silk sheets in the dryer as the heat can degrade the fabric). Learn more about how to take care of your silk sheets here.
Buyer Beware When Shopping for Silk Sheets
If you’re shopping for silk sheets to alleviate MS symptoms—or for any reason at all—there is important information you should know. With the recent attention silk bedding is getting for its many health and beauty benefits, the silk marketplace has grown crowded with inferior products and unscrupulous merchants. Some will attempt to sell you an inferior silk; a silk blend; or even satin, which is a manmade synthetic fiber made of petroleum while claiming it is silk. Silk and satin are NOT the same (read about the differences between silk and satin here). Only genuine silk will deliver the restful night of sleep you deserve. Learn how to tell the differences between silk and satin here.