How do I sleep when I have chronic fatigue and chronic insomnia?

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Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by melissanreynolds

The paradox of chronic insomnia and chronic fatigue is a mean one.

How can I be so exhausted deep down in my bones, yet still not able to sleep? – every fibromyalgia fighter ever.

Sleep research, sleep hygiene, sleep tips and all the things I have been learning about combating chronic insomnia and fibromyalgia.

sleep tips and tricks for chronic insomnia

Sleep is one of the biggest fights for me. I didn’t improve nearly as far until I began to sleep better. Here I share a lesson from the Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook to help you get some more sleep. Please note that some of my links are affiliate links, like the link above, and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you. Every little bit helps me to keep making these resources.

The fibromyalgia framework series has been presenting my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

We have discussed: 

The Fibromyalgia Framework – with your free framework template!
Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Fibro Books
Tracking Your Progress


Sleep is huge. I had theorized that sleep was a crucial missing component in my healing journey for a long time. Research is starting to bear this out. Doctors specializing in and writing about fibromyalgia know it. It still hasn’t trickled down to most practitioners.

Once I began low dose naltrexone I started to sleep in more than one hour blocks. Getting restful sleep has been the basis of all the improvements I experienced over 2017 and 2018 despite having tiny children and a third pregnancy.


There’s a lot of research about the sleep issue in Fibromyalgia and chronic deep sleep deprivation is no friend to our pain, fatigue or brain. We can do quite a few things ourselves to impact our sleep, but sometimes we need a doctor to step in and help. I am very lucky that a locum GP I saw once noticed my history of being very tired and not sleeping well and put me on amitriptyline. This was before I was diagnosed so I’m unsure if he suspected Fibromyalgia or not. This was the only way I could get any sleep for years. That doesn’t mean it helps me to sleep well or that I don’t have a list of sleep hygiene rules that I live by.

Based upon my reading of the research, books by my favourite fibromyalgia authors and my experience, my number one recommendation to anyone suffering from chronic pain or similar illnesses is to get your sleep.


  • Manage pain – take prescribed medicines as directed.
  • Pacing during the day so you are not over-exhausted.
  • Don’t have caffeine after lunch.
  • Have a wind-down routine (that doesn’t involve technology).
  • Go to bed and get up at approximately the same time each day.
  • Dab lavender oil on temples, wrists and/or feet.
  • Do a body scan meditation.


There is a tool that you can use to help you get to sleep, when you’re stuck awake in the middle of the night, when you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept in years AND during the day when you desperately need a rest.

Yoga Nidra guided meditation.

In addition to my whole of life plans, and these sleep tips, Yoga Nidra is the thing that helps me mitigate the impact of chronic insomnia.

You can try it for free inside the below series. You will get four free classes that take 10 minutes or less each. One of them is Yoga Nidra. It might be free, but if you USE it, it will be invaluable. Especially the Yoga Nidra.



Once you have tried the above sleep hygiene tips, it might be worth exploring natural sleep options such as:

  • Lavender essential oil
  • Chamomile
  • Valerian
  • Lemonbalm
  • GABA supplement
  • CBD oil (if it is legal where you live)
  • Magnesium

If you have been struggling to sleep for a good while, have tried all of the sleep hygiene and natural options available it is time to discuss options with your doctor.

  • Melatonin
  • 5 HTP
  • Low dose naltrexone – do your research, take it to your doctor, but please note that for some it causes insomnia.
  • Stronger sleep aids for short term use, under strict medical supervision.

This article from Dr Teitelbaum might be of use for further sleep help.

Sleep is one area where we really need our doctors to be on board. If yours is not, then try to find another one.

Everything you need to Get Some Sleep is available in this micro course – including the Sleep Diary worksheet and much more.

Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

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