People diagnosed with Fibromyalgia often experience difficulty sleeping at night. This lack of sleep can add to or prolong the symptoms that afflict Fibro patients. There are various steps that a person suffering from this chronic condition can take to achieve a better quality sleep and reduce the intensity of Fibromyalgia.
First, let’s look at the definition of sleep.
Webster’s Dictionary defines sleep as, “the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored.”
Sleep is where the mind lets go of the normal daily concerns and the physical and emotional stresses of everyday life. It replenishes and restores the physical and mental abilities through the restorative process acquired during REM sleep. .
Fibro patients normally have a difficult time sleeping because of a combination of circumstances. There is muscle pain, restless leg syndrome, stress and anxiety. These conditions prevent the mind from going into the second stage of sleep called REM. This is the sleep cycle that assists the human body to restore the chemical balance within the brain that is needed to repair muscle tissue and prevent what is called brain fog: the lack of concentration and the inability to think clearly, recall or remember. Fibro patients awaken easily and find it difficult to go into deep REM sleep.
So how can a Fibromyalgia patient attain a better quality sleep? Doctors often prescribe sleep medication to help with sleep disorders like the ones endured by Fibromyalgia patients. Unfortunately these do not always work or at times work ineffectively. Restorative sleep is difficult to achieve. But there are other methods that can be used by the patient to help them overcome the effects that this lack of sleep can produce.
A patient must learn to adopt new sleep habits. Yes it can be learned, but you must be persistent with your routine.
#1. Set a specific time for sleep. 8 hours is the usual amount of time needed for the restorative values to work on the body. So if you need to be up by 6 in the morning, go to bed by 9:30 or 10.
#2. Do not have caffeine or alcohol before going to bed. Any stimulant will negate the efforts you make in achieving a good nights sleep.
#3. Prepare your brain for the willingness of sleep. Creating an environment conducive for sleep is essential. A quite room; no lighting (or low lighting if you need some light in the room); comfortable bedding; and a cool room temperature are conditions that can lull a person to sleep. If reading helps you to get drowsy, read while sitting in a comfortable chair. Train your mind to understand that your bed is for sleeping.
#4. Create a nighttime ritual to help prepare you to sleep. Do some relaxation techniques. Meditation, quiet music, deep breathing, whatever will lower you blood pressure and slow down your breathing are quite helpful.
#5. Do not do anything like pay bills or watch TV while in bed. Condition your mind into knowing that your comfortable bed is meant for sleeping. Your mind will learn this and it will become a habit.
The benefits of a proper nights sleep for a Fibromyalgia patient are many. If you have achieved REM sleep, your muscles will have had the opportunity to relax and repair. You will awake with a decrease in pain. Your mind will also have the opportunity to relax and release anxieties accumulated during the day. Your focus will return and your brain fog will diminish. Greater focus and a reduction in pain will be noticeable not only to you but to those around you.
Is it difficult for a Fibro patient to get a good night sleep? Yes it is, but it is not impossible. Doing whatever you can to help yourself manage your Fibro symptoms, along with your doctors’ recommendations, will help you achieve a better quality of life while enduring the chronic conditions of Fibromyalgia.