How To Sleep Well Despite Fibromyalgia
If you're suffering with fibromyalgia, there's a good chance you might also be having a difficult time enjoying a good night's sleep. Those who have fibromyalgia report a wide range of sleep difficulties, including a hard time getting to sleep, continual awakening throughout the night, as well as sleep apnea (characterized by abnormal breathing) and restless leg syndrome (an overwhelming urge to move the legs).
According to the American College of Rheumatology, approximately one in 50 Americans are estimated to have fibromyalgia, or between 3 and 6 million people. In fact, fibromyalgia is the second most common ailment affecting the musculoskeletal system after osteoarthritis. Ninety percent of those diagnosed with the disease are women.
People with fibromyalgia complain about waking exhausted with no energy. Usually, they feel more tired in the morning, and many go back to sleep during the day to deal with their exhaustion. As a result of lack of sleep, it's not unusual for fibromyalgia sufferers to have great difficulty concentrating during the day, a condition called "fibro fog."
That's because people with fibromyalgia lack the deep, restorative level of sleep, called "non-rapid-eye-movement" (non-REM) sleep. Some researchers believe it's the constant pain of fibromyalgia that causes sleep interruptions. Others have found evidence that fibromyalgia may be related to an abnormality of deep sleep. Findings have shown abnormal brain waves form in deep sleep with fibromyalgia patients. These patients tell of feeling "awake" or being in a shallow state of sleep throughout the night, instead of experiencing restful, deep- level sleep.