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Sleep

Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are things you can do to optimize your quality of life – to improve your energy level and brain functioning, feel more rested, reduce your pain and minimize your other symptoms.

Pace yourself. Rest before and after activities. Alternate between activities that use energy, such as physical exercise and mental concentration, and those that help conserve energy, such as sleep, meditation and relaxation exercises. Listening to your body, moderating your activity level, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, taking pain medication during a flare-up, and getting the emotional support you need can all help you to self-manage your symptoms and improve your sense of well-being.

Many people think of self-management as planting SEEDS of health, from which their health slowly grows like a garden. SEEDS stands for Sleep, Exercise (and Pacing), Environment, Diet (and Drugs) and Support.

Sleep

If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, getting enough sleep is crucial. Better sleep leads to improved physical and mental energy.

Here are some useful tips:

  • Pace your daytime activities to conserve your energy throughout the day and prevent “crashes.”
  • Do not wait until you are exhausted before going to bed.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night, and plan for eight to 10 hours or more of sleep each night.
  • Avoid being very hungry or very full at bedtime.
  • Avoid or minimize caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, as they can impair sleep.
  • Do "quiet" or relaxing activities for one hour before bedtime, such as taking a warm bath with ½ cup of Epsom salts or ½ cup baking soda.
  • Make the bedroom a "worry-free zone." Use your bed for sleeping and sex only; not eating or watching TV.
  • Warm your bed with a hot water bottle before getting in. Keep the room dark and quiet while sleeping – use earplugs and an eye mask if necessary.
  • Protect your neck while you’re sleeping by using a cervical pillow or by repositioning a regular pillow to maintain a space between your shoulder and neck.

Sleep Disorders

Restless Leg Syndrome

Approximately one third of patients with fibromyalgia experience restless leg syndrome, which involves numbness and tingling in the lower limbs and restless, twitching legs. The condition makes it difficult to get enough sleep. Restless leg syndrome is exacerbated by long periods of inactivity and relieved by walking or stretching. If your sleep is disrupted by this condition, ask your doctor about medications and magnesium bisglycinate/citrate, which may help.

Sleep Apnea

Some patients with fibromyalgia also have obstructive sleep apnea. Symptoms include loud snoring and periodic pauses in breathing, for at least 10 seconds, after which breathing is resumed with a snort. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, ask your family doctor to make an appointment at a local sleep clinic. Sleep apnea can be treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which uses a machine to keep the airway open and allow for continuous breathing through the nose. If you are overweight, then losing weight may also be helpful as obesity can contribute to sleep apnea. Unfortunately, correcting the sleep apnea does not eliminate the fatigue from fibromyalgia.

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Fibromyalgia

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Diagnosis

What Helps?

Sleep

Exercise and Pacing

Environment

Diet and Drugs

Support


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