Tips to Understand and Overcome Unrefreshing Sleep

Tips to Understand and Overcome Unrefreshing Sleep

Through the Fog

Sleep used to come more easily to me, and I miss waking up feeling rested and refreshed. Those days are but a distant memory now. It’s just one more thing that fibromyalgia has taken from me, leaving me longing for better days.

Unrefreshing sleep comes with a whole host of issues that affect our day to day lives in crushing ways. Some of those issues are:

  1. Daytime sleepiness
  2. Unrelenting fatigue
  3. Inability to focus or concentrate
  4. A greater sensitivity to physical pain
  5. Poor task performance
  6. Increased sensitivity to heat or cold
  7. Morning stiffness and achiness

If you’re struggling, talk to your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription medications that may improve your quality of sleep. Check the possibility of doing a sleep study to determine if underlying issues need to be addressed. Keep in mind that the amount of time we sleep is not necessarily as important as the quality of that rest.

Painsomnia is another monkey wrench in our battle for rest. It occurs when the severity of our pain keeps us awake and miserable. When that happens to me, I find that heating pads, a cup of tea, and a good book can help to keep me more comfortable as well as distracted. If I know I’ll be unable to sleep for a while, I binge watch something on Netflix or Hulu. Basically, I find whatever it is that keeps me distracted from the pain.

Sleep hygiene plays a part in our quality of rest, as well as habitual bedtime routines. Some sleep routines you may want to incorporate are:

  1. Take a relaxing bath with Epsom salt and lavender essential oil.
  2. Put some lavender oil on your pillow, on your wrists, or in a diffuser.
  3. Turn off your devices.
  4. Read a book, but not one that gets your adrenaline pumping.
  5. Listen to relaxing music or sounds (I prefer ocean sounds).
  6. Take CBD oil, magnesium, or melatonin.

According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, “There is preliminary evidence that alterations in sleep stage transitions and sleep instability, and other physiological mechanisms, such as heart rate variability and altered cortisol profiles, may be evident.” As you can see, so many different things can interfere with and disrupt our rest.

What type of sleep issues are you struggling with? How does it affect your daily life? What solutions have you found helpful?


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.


  1. MARK BARWIN says:

    Robin…. my wife (we’ve only be married 6 months) has had FM since the age of 30 (she is a charge nurse on Orthopedic floor and is now 57 yrs young). At age 16 she underwent scoliosis surgery and has a Harrington Rod. For the last month and a half (change of season) she hardly sleeps and has become bitter and verbally abusive. She refuses any assistance, but continues to perform as much physical activity at home on her own….stating she doesn’t need my help. Intimacy is a thing of the past.
    ALSO….during this time her oldest son’s (AGE 33) birthday occurred (she has been estranged from him since Jan’18), a close relative (3 states away) who she communicated with regularly by phone died & she could not go to service as work would not excuse her, her truck needed repairs in the thousands of dollars and her auto took a dive and needed replaced, plus her work has had physical violence (attacks / choking / attempted rape by patients on nursing staff).
    Last week she had divorce papers served on me for irreconcilable differences. Is this Fibro Fog, a reaction to the FM or what? I have been supportive of her even to point of tears and pleading for her to get some professional assistance ( she refuses to get an updated medical opinion or take any Rx other than otc – Ibuprofen. I’m at my wits end…can you shed some light or give me direction.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Mark, first let me say that I hear your pain and frustration. It sounds like she’s experienced a lot of loss and that can increase her stress and symptoms. Perhaps letting her know that you’re here for her anytime she needs help, all she has to do is let you know. Don’t add to her stress by playing with her. It seems that it would help her to see a rheumatologist who can better assess her symptoms and suggest treatment options. Let me know how things are going

  2. Kay Goeser says:

    the list of problems didn’t show the depression & despair. the sobbing begins at first day light when not only have you lost the night, you have lost another whole day to pain, exhaustion, no energy, missing any activity outside the house. there is also the weight gain. wandering all night? find something to eat to soothe some need. it’s really really lonely in the early hours. not suicidal, but losing the will to live. meds cause their own list of problems. some cause crawly legs, strange dreams, hallucinations, waking up groggy with no energy at all. take a warm bath? not until you are living sleep deprived will you understand how much energy it takes to just brush your teeth. also, the guilt–why can’t I fix this? why did I miss another birthday, funeral, holiday? why is my house so dirty? why don’t I make something healthy to eat? toast is all the energy I have.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Kay, those are very hard things! Do you take any medication for the depression? I personally have severe chronic fatigue and usually just take a sponge bath. I always have to rest multiple hours after doing things that require any amount of energy. The guilt is something we all deal with. I’m glad you’re here!

  3. Dede Laugesen says:

    Hi Robin,
    I have found that foam ear inserts and a sleep eye mask have helped keep me from being disturbed by noises and lights at night that wake me up when I have been able to finally fall asleep. It has been a huge help and it is a simple, non-expensive, drug-free aid for sleep. It won’t help with the painsomnia, but it does cut down on other things that can contribute to a sleepless night. I never fall asleep anymore without them…Thanks for the article!

  4. MARK BARWIN says:

    Robin…Thanks for the reply. Can you elaborate on your statement above to… (Don’t add to her stress by playing with her.)?
    She is a very capable clinical nurse and any mention of medical advise to her really aggravates her…so the rheumatologist suggestion makes complete sense to me however getting her to agree is another story. I am at her disposal anytime to help or listen. However, the emotional toll of her not wanting me around (her husband)..kills me. She was married twice before to abusive men who used her and only took from her rather than give anything at anytime. Now I feel I’m paying the price for this abuse as she seems to think and feel eventually the other shoe will drop with me and I’ll act / treat her the same. Its a shame and a waste of two great lives. I don’t wish to give up! Mark

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