Sleep, or the lack thereof, is an issue for most people with fibromyalgia, including me. My most frequent sleep complaint is insomnia. After nodding off several times during the evening, I often go to bed exhausted. But instead of sleeping, I lie there staring at the ceiling for hours on end. Sound familiar?
Another of my issues is sleep apnea. I’m fortunate to have a moderate case of this disorder, but it’s enough that a CPAP machine was recommended. Unfortunately, my very narrow nasal passages make it impossible for me to use it. Without enough room for the air to go up my nose and into my lungs, the excess gushing air goes into my sinuses, causing pain and swelling by morning.
In addition to causing breathing to stop temporarily throughout the night, sleep apnea is a common cause of snoring. My husband will attest to the fact that I am a champion snorer. The noise I make is loud enough to awaken not only him and the dog but also myself. Then my issue becomes getting back to sleep. Again, I lie there for hours, too tired to get up or even to read (my eyes won’t focus), but unable to switch off my brain.
As a result of these two issues, sleep deprivation is a way of life for me. Whether I plan to or not, I rarely get through a day without a nap. However, it’s even rarer that I get through a nap without an unwanted phone call.
When the government created the “Do Not Call” registry, I rushed to add my name. At last, an answer to my problem — and that of so many others who for various reasons need to sleep during the day. And it worked! For roughly three months. During that time, the number of undesirable calls I received each day greatly reduced. I actually enjoyed an occasional uninterrupted nap in the afternoon.
But gradually, the calls came back — slowly at first, and then with a vengeance. Three months later, I had more calls than ever. Eventually, I complained to my local phone company and was encouraged to add my name to the “Do Not Call” list a second time.
Still hopeful, I made that call. A recorded message assured me that my name was already on the list. Adding it again was unnecessary. It appears that the telemarketers use more sophisticated technology to get their calls through to us than the government uses to stop them. Sadly, this registry is ineffective.
I next purchased a phone with an on-off ringer. Through no one’s fault but my own, it hasn’t been as helpful as I’d hoped. Many of my naps are unplanned (although not unwanted), so I haven’t enabled that wonderful feature.
The “Do Not Disturb” feature on my cellphone could also be useful. But for the same reason, I rarely turn it on. I hate to miss even a short nap if I’m lucky enough to catch one.
I could always opt for my phone to never ring at all. That way I could sleep all I wanted to, but I’d lose touch with the outside world and the people I really do want in my life.
The only solution that occurs to me is for someone with fibromyalgia to be responsible for enforcing what is currently a useless “Do Not Call” registry. That person would be one of the most dedicated workers in the country, motivated by a basic human need. The need for sleep is so strong it follows only the need for air, water, food, shelter, and safety. I’d volunteer for the job myself, but right now I really need a nap.
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.