If you have fibromyalgia, you know first-hand the debilitating pain associated with this condition. Over time, this chronic muscle and joint pain can make sleeping unbearable. Unfortunately, people with fibromyalgia tend to become accustomed to sleeping poorly. However, there are certain things you can do to lessen this disease’s burden on your sleep.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain. In addition to body pain, people experience fatigue, memory and mood issues, and sleep issues. About six million Americans suffer from this condition, making it fairly common.
What Sleep Issues Can Occur With Fibromyalgia?
Those who suffer from fibromyalgia may experience insomnia, nighttime awakenings, daytime fatigue, and poor concentration. Two specific sleep disorders have been linked to fibromyalgia: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and restless leg syndrome (RLS).
OSA is characterized by a partial or full obstruction of a person’s airway that prevents proper breathing during the night. People who suffer from OSA wake up often throughout the night, gasping for breath. This can be a potentially life-threatening condition and can lead to cardiovascular diseases and heart failure.
RLS is characterized by the overwhelming urge to move your legs, arms, head, or neck. This condition is not always specifically associated with the legs. During rest or sleep, discomfort and intensity of urges increase. This condition can be especially burdensome for sufferers of fibromyalgia, as the movement itself can be painful.
Tips For Better Sleep
Getting better sleep each night can help decrease fibromyalgia symptoms of pain, fatigue, and mental fog. Here are several lifestyle modifications you can try that have been shown to improve rest:
- Avoid heavy or spicy meals before bed.
Eating a large, heavy meal before bed is a lot of work for the digestive system. When the digestive system has a couple of hours of work ahead of it, it can be difficult to fall asleep. Try to avoid heavy, fatty, spicy, or acidic foods before bed to prevent trouble sleeping, heartburn, and an upset stomach.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
Caffeine stays in the system anywhere from 3 to 5 hours after consumption. It is a good idea to avoid any caffeinated beverages for at least 6 hours before bed. Although alcohol is a sedative, it can also severely disrupt sleep. It is a good idea to avoid alcohol entirely if you suffer from fibromyalgia and sleep problems.
- Create and follow a sleep schedule.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Establishing a consistent sleep-wake schedule is very helpful in preventing sleep issues. Keep to this schedule on the weekends as well.
- Establish a relaxing nighttime routine.
Take at least thirty minutes before bed each night to relax your mind and body to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. Try different things to find out what works for you – everyone is different. Play relaxing and meditative music, take a warm bath, spritz your pillowcase and sheets with lavender oil, or try other forms of aromatherapy.
Try out these lifestyle modifications for a better night’s sleep. It may take a few weeks to get the hang of it. However, if you feel that none of these are promoting better sleep, talk to your doctor about whether your fibromyalgia symptoms can be managed with certain medications. Many people see improvements with muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and antidepressants.