Fibromyalgia

Brenda is a 45 year old lady who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (FM). She wakes up in the morning with pain in her neck, lower back, knees and shoulders and as the day goes by, the pain spreads to different parts of her body. When she gets stressed, the pain worsens. Sometimes, she has trouble exercising and lately she had problems with memory and concentration especially at work. She also suffers from migraines.

Sleep problems are common in people with fibromyagia. Brenda does not sleep well. Even when she gets 8 hours of sleep, she does not feel rested but rather feels exhausted. Her sleep quality is sometimes “light”; she tosses and turns at night. Sometimes, she would try to take an afternoon nap because of the fatigue.

How to get a good night of sleep if you have fibromylgia

  • Avoid sleeping pills if you can and try to find ways to get a restful sleep. If they fail, you want to take a sleeping pill on as-needed basis. You will need to talk to your doctor.
  • It might see seem like spending time in bed trying to fall asleep is the right thing to do, but it can actually make the insomnia worse. You want to curtail your time in time in order to improve sleep consolidation. Avoid long naps. If you need to nap, take half hour nap no later than 3 pm. (See Sleep Restriction Therapy.)
  • Get exercise regularly- as much as you can tolerate. Do 10 minutes initially rather than one long workout. You might start with walking, then stationary bike or combination and graduate into treadmill. Join a fitness class if you can. Exercise improves sleep quality.
  • You might benefit from formal physical therapy or hiring a trainer.
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and massages. Consider accupuncture.
  • Avoid caffeine after 12 noon. It can disrupt the sleep architecture.
  • Avoid alcohol. It can affect the depth and quality of sleep.
  • Work on your emotional stress. Read books that offer different techniques and tips. Find a counselor who can help you with coping mechanisms.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy requires a skilled counselor and it is designed to address and recognize negative thought patterns and hopefully change them into positive, optimistic ones.
  • Seek support group for FM
  • There are medications approved specifically for FM. Your doctor may prescribe them to help you deal with pain. They include antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) or anti-seizure medications such as pregabalin (Lyrica).