Fibromyalgia and Sleep

Sufferers of Fibromyalgia are often frustrated by the lack of knowledge of the condition. Tests may prove little, often showing no reason for the debilitating pain and discomfort that people report. Symptoms include debilitating pain in many parts of the body and tiredness that seems to go on and on – leaving sufferers feeling exhausted, frustrated and desperate for relief.

Fibromyalgia is more likely to be reported by women and increases with age. Although it is difficult to pin point the start of the disease, it is often associated with emotional or physical trauma preceding the onset of symptoms.

Increased Pain Sensitivity

Symptoms may vary from day to day and be affected by the weather, stress and other factors depending on the individual. Reports of aches and tenderness throughout the body are common and reports suggest that sufferers may have increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals explaining why there is no obvious damage to the areas where pain is reported.

The exhaustion that sufferers report may be directly related to the pain and discomfort making it difficult to relax but also the emotional challenge of dealing with a condition that has no obvious cause. Stress and anxiety make it difficult to sleep so it is important to develop skills that will aid relaxation and help encourage sleep.

It is sometimes difficult to say no and pay attention to keeping well so sufferers need to be able to give themselves space to relax without feeling guilty. Any illness changes lives and fibromyalgia may mean giving up or limiting work and other commitments. Coming to terms with what is possible is often difficult and it is important to discuss this with a GP and then with family and carers so that they can provide the appropriate care and support.

It is recommended that sufferers learn stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, yoga and relaxation techniques. These can also help with pain relief and relaxation can used to reduce stress and anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may also be introduced to help manage some of the symptoms and cope with the emotional challenge. Diet is also considered an important aspect in managing the condition and nutritional therapy that identifies allergies can be helpful. <

A Positive Approach

Caffeine, alcohol and stimulants should be avoided and a regular routine undertaken. Fresh air and short walks may be beneficial (if possible) and gentle exercise encouraged. Mind/bodywork such as yoga and meditation may also be useful and aromatherapy, massage and pranayama (breathing exercises) are often found helpful.

Self help groups and online discussion forums are useful for sharing ideas and giving support.

Exhaustion does not always result in a good nights sleep and it is often tempting to neglect the importance of a regular sleep pattern. As many sufferers find it difficult to partake in many of their normal daytime activities they can become isolated and depressed, finding it difficult to find the energy to seek help.

Sleep is important and will encourage the body and mind to repair itself. Look at other areas of this site and try and incorporate some of the suggestions into your nights – and days.