Dealing with Painsomnia, Fibromyalgia’s Nightly Visitor

Dealing with Painsomnia, Fibromyalgia’s Nightly Visitor

Painsomnia is being unable to sleep due to pain. Try to imagine a really bad toothache that prevents you from sleeping, because no matter what you take for the pain, it’s just not touching it. Chronic pain can be like that, especially if you are in a flare. It’s no fun trying to distract yourself from the pain, knowing you have obligations the next day, but sleep is a distant memory.

Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your schedule, your plans, and becomes a vicious cycle. Pain causes lack of sleep, and lack of sleep increases pain. If you have children who need you, you force yourself to push through, but inevitably pay a price for it. I am in awe of, and deeply respect, men and women who are parents and suffer with Painsomnia. My heart goes out to you.

My children are grown now, so I don’t worry about having to get up and fix breakfast, get them ready, and drive them to school and extra curricular activities. Being older and experiencing Painsomnia has its own challenges. I’ve never done well on less than 8 hours of sleep, so only getting 4 or less at a time — well, let’s just say it ain’t pretty.

Have grace for yourself and trust what your body is telling you. It may be to slow down, it may be to drink a warm cup of chamomile tea, it may be to take a long bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil. No one understands your pain and inability to sleep well like you do. Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t let others be hard on you.

Some things you can do to distract yourself on those incredibly hard nights: pray, read a good book, watch a funny movie, do some gentle yoga, chat with a fellow spoonie on social media who is also awake. I personally play games on my tablet or phone. Sometimes, I find that a glass of wine helps. Find out what works for you on any given night, and do that.

Here’s to a pain-free better night’s sleep!

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. DFW Mom says:

    Enjoyed your article. We have found that Natural Calm, a powdered drink that provides 4 grams of highly absorbable magnesium in a single dose, has worked wonders for painsomnia. We call it our “hot drink” and everyone in the family uses it, particularly if we’ve had a rough day and have some stiffness or soreness. It makes a huge different in the morning, like epsom salts for your insides. We also live on high doses of fish oil, that seem to beat back the pain. Nothing gets rid of all of the pain, but the Hot Drink was a life changer for us. And, unfortunately, on top of painsomnia, there’s just plain insomnia. Some days, for no apparent reason, it’s impossible to sleep.

  2. Bridget O'Sullivan says:

    I loved your article. I’ve suffered many years also, from Fibromyalgia and 4 adult children.. Lack of sleep from pain is a major issue for me, as I’ve cut back on many meds because of brain-fog from taking them. So some of your alternative suggestions are very welcome.. I’m starting University next week studying Anthropology but only doing one unit per semester due to ME (chronic fatigue), and exhaustion from pain.. All these FM blogs are so helpful, I wish that they were about 30 years ago!! Thanks !!

  3. Nicola Mundie says:

    I’m newly diagnosed but I’ve been having the symptoms for a few years, The insomnia is the worst, I never ever feel rested. I live in the middle east and here a lot of people give me the advice ” you need to get out more” and the best one ”it’s mind over matter”

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and your comments, I will try some of your suggestions and see if the others are available here.

    Thanks for the great blog

    • Robin Dix says:

      Nicola, you are not alone. People don’t understand so they give advice that they think is helpful, but it’s just because they don’t know. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog!

  4. Terry says:

    Hi, Robin. I’ve had Fibro and a lot of other problems and have had this terrible disease for 28 + years with during the last 25 in pain 24/7/365…. with new relief. Nothing takes the pain away but it takes the edge off but not much! I don’t know where to turn or what to do. I so hope they will come up with something that would help! They need to get more funding and find out what’s causing it. I have tried Neurotin, Savella, Lyrica and others and I’m allergic to all these. I can’t take NSAIDS and had been taking steroids but have recently become allergic to them. My Dr., said a person can become allergic to any medicine at anytime.
    If you know of anything new they are working on please let me know.

    • Tina Rehrig says:

      I have had great results with dietary changes and adding turmeric capsules to my regimen. I realize it sounds crazy, and I wouldnt have believed it if I didnt experience it first hand. The changes have taken my pain levels from a standard 8 plus on any given day (even days where I literally did nothing, minus going to the bathroom) to a tolerable 2-4 and that is just usually a dull ache most days.

  5. Alan Martin says:

    Hi Robin and other readers.
    Right off the bat let me say that I do not suffer from Fibromyalgia. I am looking for evidence (anecdotal or clinical) of adjustable beds offering an improvement to the pain management and sleep quality of fibromyalgia patients. The effect of sleeping on a Zero Gravity or Semi-Fowler position has shown to ‘dis-engage’the musko-skeletal system and allows bones to default to their most comfortable position, which in turn reduces pain and should be very helpful for “Painsomniacs”.
    If such evidence exists I would be very pleased to read of it.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Hi Alan, thanks for your comment. I do know that for me, I have a tempurpedic mattress that was designed for those with fibromyalgia. Since I’ve had this mattress my pain is much more manesgable.

  6. Keisha Duffy says:

    Thank you for your blog it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I am constantly defending myself because like you have said, I don’t look sick. It has changed my whole life. I will keep you all in my prayers and I hope you all will do the same.

  7. Wendy Schmidt says:

    Hi Robyn, I just love all the comments provided by your followers. Unfortunately I’m one of those people that showed all the symptoms way back when I was 12 ( now 61)when they had know idea what was going , just growing, yeah right. Very much later I was hit by a city bus, while driving. Now the doctors know what fibro is…….like many of your readers tried all the meds out there with little success. My go to meds are lyrics and mophine among a few others . I agree with Alan I believe mentioned antigravity chair…! Omg yes my lifesaver , never leave home without it, even just to keep hubby company, while fusing I’m now on govn’t disability which took me away from my dream job of overb32yrs.
    My simple advice would be to always do the best you can on any given day, and try not to complain,all that does increase the stress and mwhich increases the pain.
    Sorry I’ve taken so much of your valuable time but hope just one thing helps one sufferer.
    Thx for listening
    Wendy Sch…

  8. Kathleen says:

    I’ve been dealing with some symptoms I think are fibromyalgia for years. It got worse a few months ago after I was hospitalized for pneumonia. Now every joint hurts, muscles feel drained, memory sucks, I’m tired and in pain always…. I can’t seem to get a doctor to put it all together????
    They treat one symptom at a time. I’m so frustrated. One doc said I needed to see a psychiatrist!!!!! Any advice?

    • Robin Dix says:

      Kathleen, I’m so sorry, I understand how frustrating that is. I would suggest you see a rheumatologist. But do your due diligence. Call their offices and ask what kind of testing they do, do they deal with fibromyalgia patients, how long do they give you for the initial visit, etc.

  9. Patricia says:

    This is such a good post. As far as I can figure, I’ve had fibro my whole adult life. As I get older, symptoms are increasing.
    My current get-to-sleep tactic is to get in a hot shower. It seems to release the muscle tension that builds up though the day, and I will often sleep for several hours.
    I’m lucky to have a very supportive husband. I now measure the “cost” of almost everything I do.
    The only good news is that it may make me miserable, but it isn’t fatal.
    I appreciate everyone else’s stories and suggestions. It can be a very lonely journey.

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