Sleep Problems Linked To Fibromyalgia
Sleep disorders can affect a wide variety of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Now add fibromyalgia to the list. A new study found women who have a hard time getting to sleep, or staying asleep, have a three to five times greater likelihood of developing fibromyalgia than those who have no problems sleeping.
Fibromyalgia is the most common arthritis-related illness second only to osteoarthritis. Sufferers experience chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure. More than 12 million Americans have the condition, and most are women.
In the past, researchers have reported a link between poor sleep habits and increased inflammation, as well as a reduction in the ability of the body to manage pain. But this study is different. Rather than showing fibromyalgia causes sleep problems, it reports the possibility that sleep disorders can actually trigger fibromyalgia.
Researchers at Trondheim’s Norwegian University of Science and Technology followed 12,350 women from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. All of the women were aged 20 years and older and were free from chronic pain at the start of the study. While about two-thirds of the study subjects reported no sleeping difficulties, another group reported sometimes experiencing insomnia or other sleep disturbances, and a third group reported frequent sleep problems.