Fibromyalgia (FM) is a medical condition recognized for extensive pain throughout the body and stiffness in the joints and muscles. Also, chronic fatigue and sleep problems are frequently present. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases states that as many as 90% of fibromyalgia patients are middle-aged women. However, this condition afflicts people of both genders and all ages.
Fibromyalgia causes a vicious cycle when it comes to sleep disturbance and pain. The pain you experience makes sleeping more difficult. As a result, not getting enough sleep can contribute to making the pain worse. It’s a scary thought, but for people with fibromyalgia, it can be a real nightmare.
Do not lose hope. There is good news. You can experience an improvement in your pain levels by increasing your hours of sleep. In short, FM patients must find effective ways of making their sleep patterns more restful and consistent.
Fibromyalgia and Sleep Problems
In the medical field, researchers are still doing their best to interpret how sleep disturbances link to pain regularly. Some key findings do prove that sleep and pain share a connection.
For example, a study observed patients after having surgery. They had disturbed sleep and less than healthy REM sleep. As they started to recover, rest and sleep improved. Another study observed people with a disturbance in their slow-wave sleep (the deepest sleep stage). This study followed a group of healthy middle-aged women after having slow-wave sleep disturbances for three days. The results showed that women had lower pain tolerance and increased levels of fatigue and discomfort. It means that sleep disruption can have an impact on the formation of fibromyalgia. Even though those with FM often use sleep aids, they often find it ineffective in helping them get a healthy amount of sleep.
How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Check these tips to help you get better and deeper sleep at night. This guideline can help improve some of your fibromyalgia symptoms.
#1. Keep an Eye on What You Drink and Eat
If you attempt to go to bed with a full stomach or an empty one, you will suffer from it. Avoid eating a heavy meal within a few hours of bedtime. Feeling discomfort can keep you awake at night. Avoid the following:
Caffeine and nicotine will give you a stimulating effect, which would take several hours to get out of your system. Alcohol can make you feel sleepy in the beginning but will disturb you later on in the middle of your sleep.
#2. Limit Your Daytime Napping
Long naps during the day tend to limit your sleep at night. If you need to take a nap during the day, limit it to 30 minutes. Avoid doing it late in the day. However, if you work late at night, then a late day nap will help you make up for the sleep hours that you will be losing in preparation for work.
Regular physical activity promotes better sleep. Do a regular exercise routine daily to help you improve your blood circulation. Doing brisk walking for at least 30 minutes under the morning sun will be great for you. Biking or doing yoga is also an excellent way to exercise. Spending time outdoors can be very helpful. Avoid exercising close to your bedtime.
#4. Stop Worrying
Do not go to bed when you are preoccupied with a lot of things on your mind. If it is possible, try resolving whatever issues you are dealing with before going to sleep. Consider doing some relaxation techniques which can ease your anxieties and worries.
It may help you a great deal to write down the things that are bothering you. What’s on your mind? Write them down in a journal. Set those thoughts for the next day. Also, attending stress management classes may help you, as well.
#5. Create a Peaceful Environment For Sleeping
Your bedroom should be an environment of quiet, peace, and complete rest. For some people, it means keeping your room clean, neat, soft, and dark. Any bright light in the room can make your sleep more difficult. It would include light-emitting screens and loud sounding alarm clocks with bright lights.
You may want to get some room-darkening drapes for your windows, some earplugs, fans, or other things that can help keep you relaxed and get uninterrupted sleep. Also, you can do some relaxation or calming activities before you go to bed. Options would include:
- Warm baths
- Relaxation music
- Reading a few chapters of a book
#6. Maintain a Good Sleeping Schedule
It would be good to plan on getting at least eight hours of sleep time daily. But most healthy individuals need only 7 hours of sleep.
Build and maintain your sleep routine. A great way to get proper sleep is to go to bed and get up at the same time daily. Practice a consistent sleeping routine, whether or not you have the day off. Being steady in this way will help your body achieve and maintain a proper sleep-wake cycle.
If you are not falling asleep within 20 minutes after you lay down, get up and go into another room. Do something that relaxes you, something like reading or listening to soft music. Then go back to your bedroom when you feel sleepy. Remember to keep your sleeping routine as consistent as you can.
Natural Help for Fibromyalgia Pain
In addition to sleep disturbance, there is another factor seen to be an underlying cause of fibromyalgia. This factor is a misalignment of the top bones of the upper cervical spine. The atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae may be putting the brainstem under pressure and stress due to misalignment, causing it to send the wrong signals to the brain. If the brainstem tells the brain that the body is in pain, even when it is not, then fibromyalgia may become the result.
Upper cervical chiropractors use a gentle and precise method that realigns the neck bones properly. It realigns the bones without the need for popping or cracking the neck or spine. This gentle method does not inflict further pain. Once corrected, many patients report experiencing an improvement in their symptoms of fibromyalgia. It results in health recovery and restoration of proper communication between the body and brain. Fibromyalgia is known to ease up or even go away entirely after a person receives upper cervical chiropractic care.
Find an upper cervical chiropractor nearest you to get relief from fibromyalgia pain.