Fibromyalgia and sleep problems often go hand in hand, but patients should not resign themselves to a life without rest. If you have fibromyalgia, you can take steps to improve the quality of your sleep. These include:
- Go to bed and getting up at the same time every day
- Exercise earlier in the day but not within three hours of bedtime
- Avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol before bed
- Avoid eating shortly before bedtime
- Practice relaxation exercises while falling to sleep
- Maintain a sleep environment that has a comfortable temperature and is quiet, free from distractions such as television
- Limit daytime napping
National Institutes of Health studies have found that making such lifestyle changes may significantly reduce insomnia in patients with fibromyalgia.
In some cases, sleep medications also may be helpful, particularly when aggravating conditions such as restless legs syndrome also disturb sleep. However, there are risks associated with taking sleeping pills and other medications over long periods. In addition, some patients find that their bodies eventually become resistant to the effects of the sleep medications.
Many other treatments are available for fibromyalgia, ranging from other medications and psychotherapy to exercise and massage therapy. Consult your physician to find the treatment that is right for you.
Reviewed by Vikas Garg, M.D., MSA