A recent study published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders revealed that daytime napping in patients with fibromyalgia can increase the disease symptom severity. The study is entitled “Daytime napping associated with increased symptom severity in fibromyalgia syndrome.”
Fibromyalgia corresponds to a disorder based on widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain, also characterized by fatigue, stiffness and numbness in certain parts of the body, headaches, sleep disorder and mood alterations. This disorder can affect people’s ability to conduct simple daily tasks, compromising their quality of life, and has a higher likelihood to develop in women compared to men.
It was previously shown that as a strategy to cope and manage fibromyalgia symptoms, people often rely on daytime napping. It is not clear whether this strategy is beneficial or harmful for people with fibromyalgia, and clinicians have both recommended it to patients and also advised patients to avoid it. The goal of this study was to evaluate the use of daytime naps in patients and to assess the possible association between these naps and the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms.
An online questionnaire was completed by 1,044 adult individuals who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Researchers assessed possible links between fibromyalgia symptoms, napping behavior and sleep quality in participants who napped on a daily basis and those who did it less frequently. The duration of the nap was also analyzed.
Researchers found that sleep problems, fatigue and high levels of pain were the main reasons that participants engage in daytime naps. Regular, daily daytime naps were found to be significantly associated with sleep problems, fatigue, pain, memory difficulties, anxiety and depression. The duration of the naps was also found to affect fibromyalgia symptoms, with individuals who took daytime naps for more than 30 minutes showing higher memory difficulties as well as depression levels than those who took naps for shorter periods (less than 30 minutes).
The team concluded that individuals with fibromyalgia, who frequently engage in daytime napping and for longer periods of time, have greater symptoms severity. The researchers believe that further studies are required to determine if daytime naps are indeed detrimental to symptom severity or whether they can be recommended, under certain rules, as a strategy for individuals to cope with chronic pain and other fibromyalgia-related symptoms.