The human body cycle is fascinating on many levels. One of the most important regenerative processes in the body is sleep.
Adequate sleep is essential for all aspects of our health. Those dealing with the effects of fibromyalgia know full well that adequate sleep can be elusive and difficult to obtain.
As I sit down to write this article, ironically, I was faced with a major explosion that disrupted my sleep and disrupted my sleep patterns. I was deprived of sleep for days, to the point of exhausting myself, only to find myself so tired that I slept for 12-14 hours without being able to revitalize myself and wake up refreshed.
What is fibromyalgia doing so wreaking havoc on our sleep patterns?
Causes of poor sleep with fibromyalgia
Many researchers believe that people with fibromyalgia do not get enough sleep. In fact, 2 to 10 percent of the population has fibromyalgia, and about three-quarters of people with fibromyalgia have trouble sleeping. The most common is a feeling of non-restorative or non-restful sleep.
For those with fibromyalgia, it doesn’t matter how many hours you sleep – sleep is generally not restorative, so people wake up feeling tired rather than refreshed. This is probably due to an insufficient amount of the deepest, most restful sleep.
To better understand sleep cycles, researchers have identified three types of sleep: light sleep (stages 1 and 2), deep sleep (stages 3 and 4), and paradoxical sleep (REM).
If you don’t spend enough time sleeping soundly, your body slows down the production of important hormones. Reduced production of these hormones can increase pain in people with fibromyalgia.
Likewise, if you don’t get enough REM sleep, your body may produce less cortisol (although the hormone, which controls blood pressure and blood sugar, may be released at any time during sleep). People with fibromyalgia may have low levels of cortisol, which contributes to their excessive fatigue.
Research and results
The researchers assembled a group of healthy volunteers in a research experiment. When deprived of REM sleep, they develop symptoms of fibromyalgia within a few days: fatigue, cognitive difficulties, irritability and muscle pain. After interrupting deep sleep every night for 7-14 days, her symptoms were indistinguishable from fibromyalgia patients.
Fibromyalgia and sleep problems
Other sleep issues that many people with fibromyalgia face include insomnia, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep apnea, and sleep paralysis.
Difficulty falling asleep
Frequent waking or waking up early
Phase change (difficult to fall asleep until the early hours of the morning)
Insomnia is common in fibromyalgia. Keep in mind that a person’s level of fatigue has nothing to do with their ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Many mistakenly believe that if you are tired enough, you will sleep. This is not the case for a person with insomnia.
Beneficial treatments for insomnia include cognitive behavioral therapy and good sleep hygiene. If you are looking for good advice on sleep hygiene, you can find it on the next page.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
RLS causes unpleasant and often painful sensations in the legs that force the body to move the legs to reduce the sensation. The incidence of restless legs syndrome has been found to affect more than 50% of people with fibromyalgia, compared to 7% in the general population.
People with anemia can develop RLS. Chronic diseases, such as kidney failure, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and peripheral neuropathy, are associated with RLS. RLS can also occur when the person is awake. On the other hand, antidepressant drugs can also trigger RLS. This possibility should be considered if your symptoms started after the start of mood therapy.
Treatment of restless legs syndrome
Patients with fibromyalgia experience improvement in their symptoms of fatigue and drowsiness when restless leg syndrome is treated. Some tactics include:
Self-management techniques involve cutting back on caffeine and other stimulants, doing leg exercises, using hot or cold baths or showers, and taking supplements to counter iron and folic acid deficiencies. and magnesium.
Prescription drugs include sedatives, drugs that affect dopamine, pain relievers, and anticonvulsants. Three of the most commonly used drugs for RLS are the Requip and Mirapex pills, and the Neupro patch.Fibromyalgia and sleep apnea
Perhaps the worst sleep condition associated with fibromyalgia is a common condition called sleep apnea. It affects more than 18 million adults in the United States, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing or have very shallow breathing while you sleep. This pause in breathing can last for a few seconds or minutes and can occur 30 times or more in an hour. If you have sleep apnea, you may not know you have stopped breathing overnight, but you may wake up choking or panting.
Episodes of sleep apnea can also cause you to fall from deep sleep and light sleep, which affects the quality of your rest and can make you feel tired during the day. The disorder takes its name from the Greek word apnea, which means “breathless.”
For people diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the incidence of sleep apnea was 61% in men and 32% in women, according to a 2013 study published in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. A variant of sleep apnea called upper airway resistance syndrome is common in women with fibromyalgia. Treating sleep breathing disorders improves both pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia.
The different types of sleep apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea. It is the most common type of sleep apnea. It happens when the muscles at the back of the throat fail to keep the airways open.
Central Sleep Apnea In this form of sleep apnea, the brain does not send the appropriate signals to control breathing while you sleep.
Complex or “mixed” sleep apnea syndrome. This condition has characteristics of both types.
Sleep Apnea Apnea Apnea
is a treatable disease. A common remedy is the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. The patient wears a mask through which a compressor provides a continuous flow of air, keeping the airways open and thus allowing uninterrupted sleep.
Using a CPAP machine can eliminate 90 to 100 percent of a person’s sleep apnea. Other treatments are also used for this condition, including oral or nasal devices and surgery to enlarge the airways.
Fibromyalgia and Sleep Paralysis
Another condition that can be a little scary is sleep paralysis. There is no concrete research to prove or disprove that sleep paralysis is a condition resulting from fibromyalgia. However, there are many reported accounts of sleep paralysis by people with fibromyalgia.
Sleep paralysis mainly occurs due to lack of sleep. Given that achieving REM sleep is so difficult for people with fibromyalgia, and the quality and quantity of sleep is so poor, it makes sense that this lack of REM sleep in people with fibromyalgia could lead to paralysis. some sleep.
According to sleepeducation.com, your brain normally allows your muscles to relax and stay still while you sleep. This is called “slowness”. Sleep paralysis can occur when atony occurs while you are awake. It happens when you wake up or fall asleep, and your body cannot switch to REM properly.
A patient who reported sleep paralysis said the episodes frequently occurred for her upon awakening. She said she was paralyzed from the neck down in horrific pain, which lasted up to 20 minutes.
Seven tips for sleeping better with fibromyalgia
Don’t watch TV or surf the Internet on your computer right before bed. These activities increase the electrical activity of the brain, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
Get more exercise. Your pain and fatigue can prevent you from exercising, but light exercise can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Herbal supplements. Valerian, kava kava, and melatonin are alternative medications that have helped some people fall asleep. Valerian helps fight insomnia, kava kava also treats insomnia in addition to stress and anxiety, and melatonin helps restore your body’s natural rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep.
Selection of mattresses. There are a variety of mattresses available that can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep.
Prescription sleep remedies. There are a variety of drugs approved by the FDA specifically for sleep disorders, such as zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta).
Simulates deep breathing from sleep. This can “trick” your body into sleep by taking slow, deep breaths that mimic those in the deeper stages of sleep. You will feel relaxed and more apt to fall asleep.
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The bottom line
Finally, I leave you with the advice I tend to give regardless of the topic related to fibromyalgia. Be nice to yourself! Don’t let other people’s expectations embarrass you about your sleep patterns or cause you to do things your body can’t do.
You know your body’s “clock” and how you feel every day. If it’s a rough night, don’t feel guilty about sleeping inside. If a short nap during the day replaces the sleep lost the night before and doesn’t interrupt the current night’s sleep, then of course, take a nap! Listen to your body and adjust to its rhythm.
If the activities around you are affecting your sleep, politely excuse your “quiet place”. If you haven’t created an oasis and a better sleeping environment, take the time to do so. It’s important that you do whatever you can to combat the conditions that try to rob you of sleep.
People with fibromyalgia learn to familiarize themselves with their body’s clues every day. When the energy is plentiful, go with the flow. When fibromyalgia flare-ups come to their ugly heads, rest, regroup, and indulge yourself. Either way, don’t give up!