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How to Get Better Sleep When You Have Fibromyalgia

Posted On May 7, 2014
May 07, 2014

If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it is safe to assume that at some point in time, every muscle and joint in your body have ached and hurt. There have been days, weeks and months, where you just never seemed to get relief of your pain. As a result, the chronic pain has evolved into restless and fitful sleep. Plain and simple, as a person with fibromyalgia, you have grown accustomed to having trouble sleeping. But does this way of thinking need to be a perpetual given, or is it possible to get better sleep when you have fibromyalgia?

Currently, it is estimated that close to 6 million Americans have fibromyalgia, which is a condition that produces chronic muscle, joint, and tendon pain throughout the sufferer’s body. In addition to the overall body pain other symptoms can include fatigue, trigger points and the development of a sleep disorder.

What Types of Sleep Problems Occur with Fibromyalgia?

Insomnia, whether in the category of trouble falling or staying asleep, is a battle for those individuals with fibromyalgia. Many folks also experience an increase in awakenings, and daytime sleepiness with accompanying fatigue. Bouts of poor concentration plague people with fibromyalgia to the point that a term, “fibro fog,” was coined.

Two specific sleep disorders have been connected and linked to fibromyalgia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and restless leg syndrome. OSA is a condition in which there is a partial or full obstruction of a person’s airway that prevents him or her from proper breathing during the night. The OSA sufferer has pauses in breath lasting from seconds to minutes, and anywhere from 5 to over 30 times per hour. During sleep, with restless leg syndrome, individuals get the overwhelming urge to move their legs, which increases in intensity at rest. With this muscular intensity, it is easy to understand the connection with fibromyalgia. 

Getting Better Sleep Can Also Help Decrease Fibromyalgia Symptoms

If you have fibromyalgia, it is possible to get better sleep and at the same time decrease your symptoms of pain, fatigue and daytime sleepiness. How? Simply follow sound sleep hygiene practices such as:

  • Avoid a heavy and/or spicy meal for dinner. Eating a heavy and large meal toward the end of your day will put your stomach and intestines to work, which makes sleep more difficult. It is smart to avoid fatty foods that stress your digestive system, and acidic or spicy foods late in the day, which can instigate heartburn and upset stomach.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol in the evening. Caffeine remains in your system anywhere from 3 to 5 hours after consumption and causes your deep stages of sleep to be disrupted. And alcohol, while somewhat sedative, once the buzz goes away, the opposite can occur. Sleep can be restless with frequent instances of wakening.
  • Go to sleep and wake up at set times, and keep to this schedule even on the weekend.
  • Establish a relaxing, bedtime ritual. Whether you play meditative music, spritz sheets and pillowcases with lavender oil or take a bubble bath, winding down after a busy and hectic day can assist anyone in prompting a sound and restorative night of sleep.

If these lifestyle modifications do not seem to help, you can opt to ask your physician whether or not your fibromyalgia symptoms and sleep problems can be lessened with prescription medication such as muscle relaxers, pain relievers and antidepressants. All in all, if sleep can be improved, fibromyalgia symptoms will invariably decrease.

If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, trouble sleeping or suspect you might have sleep apnea, please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.


About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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