Ideas to Help You Sleep Better with Fibromyalgia

Ideas to Help You Sleep Better with Fibromyalgia

Through the Fog
Sleep is elusive for many of us, but it is important not only for our health, but our emotional wellbeing.

Fibromyalgia takes so much from us, including sleep. Being unable to get a good sleep can contribute to fibromyalgia symptoms, which is why it is important we take steps to ensure we sleep better.

Ways we can get better sleep

1. Exercise: Exercising in the morning helps set your body rhythm for the next 24 hours, including letting you get better sleep. It doesn’t need to be strenuous. Even gentle walking will do.

2. Lavender: The scent of lavender can help you feel relaxed, which can make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. You can choose from various lavender-scented products before bed, including oils.

3. Meditation: Slowing your breathing with deep breaths, meditation or prayer will go a long way toward relaxing you enough to get to sleep. I always liked reading Psalm 4:8. Spend at least 20-30 minutes in quiet meditation.

4. Hot bath: If you are able to get in and out of a bathtub safely, try a warm or hot bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil. It can not only help you relax but also alleviate some of the pain that keeps FM peeps awake at night.

5. No screens: Don’t use your smartphone or tablet, or watch TV an hour or so before going to bed. They send a message to your brain that it’s time to be awake. Read a real book, do a puzzle, or play solitaire instead.

6. Sleep medication: If you think a sleep medication would help you, discuss it with your medical professional. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

7. Regular wake-up time: It’s more important for you to wake at the same time each morning than for you to go to bed at the same time each night. It’s another piece in the puzzle of regulating your circadian — or body — rhythm. Set a quiet alarm and try not to hit the snooze button.

8. Take a nap: Taking an afternoon nap is beneficial, with a 20-minute snooze being optimal. Think of it as a personal siesta. If you have little ones who nap in the afternoon, snooze at the same time.

Sleep hygiene is also important for those of us battling fibromyalgia. Perhaps combining two or more of the above ideas will help you get better sleep. I know, of course, that with our condition, even if we get amazing sleep, we’re likely to wake up feeling unrefreshed. But a good sleep can make us feel less unrefreshed.

If you have ideas that work for you, please share them with the rest of us.

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

20 comments

  1. Mandy says:

    I have no problems falling asleep most nights, as I’m usually tired from a full day of looking after my family and appointments and the medication I take at night makes me drowsy. My main issue is that I am unable to stay asleep for more than 2-4 hours after going to bed! Every night, the same thing happens and I’m not sure why–and after I wake up I spend the remainder of the night having a restless sleep, where I toss and turn and sometimes see every hour on the clock!! No matter what I do or try, I can never sleep through the night and if I happen to sleep more than a few hours in one position, I end up in so much pain that I wish I had woken up and moved anyway! It seems I can’t win for trying…lol.

    I tend to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time and have tried other remedies too. If I nap at all, then I have troubles getting to sleep at my normal time so I don’t do that. I have learned to live with it as it has been like this for years now, but maybe someday I will get more sleep…

      • Mandy says:

        Thanks Robin, I hope so too. Since I probably average about 5 total hours of sleep a night, waking up at least 4 or 5 times each night, anything would be an improvement at this point! Plus, no matter what time I go to bed, my internal alarm clock is programmed to go off at 5:30am and it’s very rare if I am ever able to stay in bed past that time! I am a morning person though, so that’s okay and it’s one of the few times our house is quiet so I really can’t complain! Lol

        • Sue Savidge says:

          Mandy thank you for that, which is helpful as I now know that these same problems with me, is due to my Fibroymalgia. I would add though that I sometimes find I can get back to sleep by taking two effervescent Co-codomols with something small to eat like a biscuit.

          • Mandy says:

            I’m glad I could be helpful in some way. What is Co-codomol? I’ve never heard of it before. I live in Canada so it might be something we don’t have here or maybe it goes by a different name? I’ve tried every suggestion written in this article and a few others, but nothing seems to make much difference. Six hours of sleep is the most I ever get total, and if I am having a severe flare or other issue it can be as few as 1-2 hours! 🙁 Luckily, that doesn’t happen too often, but it can be a living hell when it does! One week, I had flares so bad that I couldn’t lie down because my tender points hurt too much. I spent most of the night sitting up and moving around and trying not to wake up the rest of my family, while in agony! I’ve never experienced that before and I don’t want to again anytime soon 🙁

    • Bronwyn says:

      Hi Mandy; this too is my issue. I can usually get to sleep ok (I have been taking Melatonin supplements for over 2 years now, this helps with the sleep): however, it is the Pain in hips/shoulders/neck that always wake me up every 2 hours, on the dot basically. I roll over, get comfortable, and can usually go back to sleep (unless I have something on my mind). It is the continued Interrupted sleep that brings me down. I wake up mentally clear headed (from the Melatonin), but usually very grumpy. This also I can overcome after I get myself going with the hot-packs etc, and if nobody is here when I get up (ie husband gone to work), and I rise around 6.30 – 7. When husband is home, and wants to talk straight away, then the issue of my grumpiness affects the day, as he still can’t understand my grumpiness. (I was not always a bad morning person, has only starte probably over past 2 years or so). If someone could give me some advice on how to keep the pain away, I would really welcome their help, as at present it is driving me “mad” mentally.

  2. Helen says:

    Since the election I haven’t slept more than 2 hours each night. I knew Barack Obama in Hawai’i–he’d return to see his tutu (grandmother) and I lived just up the street in another small apartment. I miss him. My husband committed suicide in 2009–lost job and most of our savings in the stock market–so had to move to mainland with my service dog Sammy–Sammy died a year ago. I have a new service dog puppy but it’s not the same. Sam was a calm, comforting dog. My new dog is a rambunctious pup who is nearly untrainable–he can’t focus-puppy brain.

    I greatly decreased reading newspapers and magazines as the news is just so bad each day. Afraid of losing my health insurance and soon Medicaid.

    My pain, fatigue is so severe that I can barely walk more than 100 yards. I hurt in the strangest places. Right knee–can’t bear weight, then right arm will hurt terribly. I had much needed dental work done (Had been putting it off as it ALWAYS leads to a flare) and I can’t chew-pain is too much.

    I know the basics of good sleep hygiene. Only use bed for sleeping and evening reading. (Widow so no sex.) No “screens” in bedroom. Turn off both phones after 8 pm. Try to meditate but keep getting thoughts of “How am I going to live on just small retirement savings. Not able to afford meat, fish, and fresh produce each day. Can’t mow own lawn so have to pay 2 guys. I want to move as I am ALWAYS having to fix leaky pipes, replace sheet rock, spackling, paint. Three wooden decks to sand and re-stain. Wish I could move but no energy.”

    I finally fall asleep at 2 or 2:30 am, but awaken at 4:15…then no more. My 90# Golden Retriever pup (10 months old) wants to play, but I can’t even throw a ball to him.

    I’m giving up. 50 years of fibro, treatment resistant depression, AND arthritis. Soon, no health insurance. I left all my friends and ohana (family of folks you know) in Hawai’i. My sisters and brothers want nothing to do with me–feel that I am making up symptoms as “fibro” isn’t a real disease. I worked very hard for 30+ years as a nurse practitioner, teacher, ER and ICU nurse. Now completely disabled.

    Yes I take Lunesta 2mg at night…but I wake and can’t go back to sleep.

    What’s the use in living anymore. Sick and tired of being “sick and tired.”

    • Robin Dix says:

      Helen, you have so much to deal with. I wish I could give you a huge hug and make you a cup of tea. I’m sorry you left behind your ohana to come to the mainland. Is there a church or social organization that can help you find a new place? Help you pack and unpack?

    • Bronwyn says:

      Oh gosh Helen; you do sound very similar to me in ways. (No I have not lost my husband to such Tragic circumstances which would not have helped you), but as to your working career, and the Arthrites does ring a bell.
      I really connect with your last statement “what’s the use in living anymore. Sick and tired of being “sick and tired”
      I would really appreciate it if we could “really get people/health care workers/governments to Understand the effects it has on us”. I am actually (some days) getting sick of hearing about ALL THE FUND raisers for other health issues/caners etc and the outpourings of grief/condolences ; but not one reading/hearing of “what can/is being done for Fibro ME sufferers” on the daily level. I am even upset with my Rhuematologist who said “there is no need for me to come back to see her anymore, as I know what my Emotional Causes are that have given me Fibro”…just astounded me and has really let me down. I would love to go and have my Tender points injected again with Cortisone, but not game to make an appointment with her for same. So Heln, believe me when I do understand how low you have become, and can only hope that Somewhere you find a connection for support.

    • Dorna Brown says:

      My heart goes out to you. Your post really saddens me. My sister has fibro and has suffered tremendously with it. I also have it but not as severe. My sister is now taking Rick Simpson oil (medical Cannibis) and it is working! It takes about 90% of pain away. She gets out of bed now and can function a lot better. Sleep is still a problem cannibis also helps with sleeping.

      Please do not give up. God (Jesus) sees you and He cares more than you can even imagine my friend. You are not alone as He promises to never leave you or forsake you. He wants a personal intimate relationship with you. He has completely changed my life. Please know that he adores you. He’s crazy mad about you. Just reach out to Him.

      I care –
      Dorna

  3. Fletch says:

    I don’t have trouble getting to sleep but I used to wake in pain every hour or so. I believed that I had bursitis in the hips and used pain cream which helped a little. I even had scans done and the Physio could see no inflammation or reason for the pain.She said don’t worry about it it’s not doing any harm.It wasn’t until I came across an article on TaiChi helping with Fybromylagia in Harvard Health that the penny dropped. I went to my doctor and told him I thought I might have fibromyalgia.He agreed it was possible and prescribed a nortriptyline tablet which has improved things immensely.Not so keen on the side effects but they are improving with time.

    • Bronwyn says:

      Yes Fletch; my GP thought my Hip pain could have been Bursites too, but the scan showed NO. However; I have had this site, and other sites, injected with Cortisone and has given me some relief for a few months at a time.
      I was reading something the other day re this type of pain, in this area, and came across Sacroilioites. It seems there is an area of muscle between the sacral bones and the arch of hip that can become inflamed and can cause a similar pain. I am going to look more into this, for if it can be relieved by a strong anti-biotic, as the site says, then worth it for me. I cannot say this is the case for all of us with the issue of Hip pain at night, but am interested in finding out more.

  4. viviane says:

    What is that about…..but a good sleep can make Us feel less unrefreshed???? I don,t understand that part……can you please explain??

    • Robin Dix says:

      Viviane, I always wake up feeling unrefreshed but more so if I’ve gotten only a little sleep the night before. Unrefreshed sleep is very typical of fibromyalgia

  5. Jane says:

    I used to have a lot of problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. I have tried just about every medication and non-drug treatments going but found the best solution is CBD oil from the cannabis plant. I live in Canada and am now a registered medical marijuana patient. The CBD oil is easy to take (I take 40 mg about 30 minutes before bed) and the only side effect I got from it is constipation, which I have been able to address by ingesting more coconut water. It has truly been miraculous for my sleep and I have a sleep wearable ring (called Oura ring) where I am able to track my sleep like I am in a sleep lab and I can see real improvements not only in how long I sleep 8+ hours usually) but also the quality of my sleep (much more deep sleep). This has really helped reduce my fibromyalgia pain levels and given me the energy to work full time at a demanding job. I would wholeheartedly recommend that you try this under the care of your doctor or you can access a doctor with experience in medical marijuana through National Access Canabis, like I did. Hope this helps and good luck!!!

    • Susan Savidge says:

      I couldn’t sleep a wink – not for 5 minutes – the night after a major gynae operation. Nurses gave me sleeping pills but none of them worked at at all. I was desperate for sleep and my GP said that sometimes after major surgery, this does happen and he gave me Amatriptaline tablets as he said it is the side-effect of them which may help me sleep. He started me on a low dose and I reported back with joy that I had half-an-hour’s sleep. He was eventually able to give me the full dose of 150g which helps enormously. I can sleep for 8 hours, but I do wake up for an hour or so once or twice during the night. Does anyone know what this ‘side effect’ is and why I had it after that operation?

  6. David says:

    Thank you for the tips and info! I am wondering if exercise in the night makes the sleep better? With two little kids at home, it is hard to find the time to exercise during the day, I only have free time after they go to sleep tho.

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