Fibromyalgia (FM) affects the entire body, which makes the diagnosis challenging! A VERY common issue with patients struggling with FM includes problems related to sleep. This goes beyond the number of hours one “tries to sleep” but rather the quality of sleep and feeling “restored” in the morning. That is, quality is more important than quantity! Let’s look further…
1. Common sleep problems: Insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep, as well as frequent awakenings to the point of recalling being awake during the night are common with FM. Even more common are instances of waking up during the night but being unable to remember it in the morning. This interrupts “deep sleep” and poses an even more important issue. Common sleep disorders associated with FM include restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea. The goal of sleep is to feel restored when waking in the morning. Sleep deprivation can also be caused by pain, depression, and anxiety, all of which are associated with FM.
2. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): RLS is considered a neurological disorder that usually occurs at night and at times during the day when the body is inactive. It is characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest.
3. Sleep Strategies: Developing better sleep “hygiene” is important in the management of FM. This can reduce pain, fatigue, the “fibro fog” and in turn, reduce anxiety and depression. Here are some effective ways to accomplish a better sleep pattern:
4. Medication and nutritional aids: First, try herbs like valerian root, hops, ginger, turmeric, boswellia, amino acids like melatonin, 5-HTP, tryptophan, magnesium, and/or kava as NONE of these are habit forming. Your doctor of chiropractic can help you with this decision! If the herbal/nutritional approaches are not satisfying, he or she can refer you for a medical consult for prescription options.