Improving sleep is one of the most important ways to take control and better manage fibromyalgia. Lack of sleep is known to increase pain sensitivity — which leads to more sleeplessness. One of the biggest complaints that those with Fibromyalgia have is an inability to get a good night’s sleep. Both the quality and quantity of sleep can be affected. It is not clear whether fibromyalgia leads to poor sleeping patterns or if the sleep problems come first.
Studies confirm that lack of the deep sleep necessary to ward off symptoms is cumulative, which means FM will worsen over time without proper sleep. Improving your sleep will help decrease your pain, fatigue, and “fibro fog.” It will help your emotional well-being, as well. The lack of deep restorative sleep increases symptoms of depression and anxiety.
4 Steps To Improving Sleep
Improving sleep quality when you have fibro is best-managed in a step-wise fashion. The key is to find the right combination of strategies that work for you.
4 steps to better sleep:
- Practice Good Sleep Hygiene – Good sleep hygiene is the daily and nightly habits that optimize deep, refreshing sleep. It is the controlling of all behavioral and environmental factors that precede sleep and may interfere with sleep.
- Bedtime Snacks To Help You Sleep – Food can be a strong support in getting a good night’s sleep. The best bedtime snacks consist of foods containing tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that aids in the sleep process.
- Supplements To Help You Sleep – There are several herbs and supplements that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Many of the remedies for sleep also help with pain because they help relax muscles.
- Sleep Medications – The sleep disorder in fibromyalgia may be too severe to be dealt with by natural remedies alone. It is important that any medications not only increase the duration of sleep but also maintain and improve the stages of deep, restorative sleep.
A new study has strongly tied fibromyalgia and widespread pain to poor, non-restorative sleep. Factors such as anxiety and overall health were linked to the increase in pain, but the most significant link was that of poor sleep. There is speculation that fibromyalgia may actually be a sleep disorder.
Whether a sleep disorder causes fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia causes a sleep disorder, improving restorative sleep is critical to our overall well-being. Improving our sleep can improve our quality of life. Improving sleep is the single most important thing you can do to manage your fibromyalgia.