Welcome to part four of the Fibromyalgia Framework Series – Sleep! I hope you’re enjoying this series and have come to join the conversation in Melissa (You) vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group.
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:
SLEEP WITH FIBROMYALGIA
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.
SOME SLEEP HYGIENE TIPS
- 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.
EXTRA SLEEP HELP
Once you have tried the above sleep hygiene tips, it might be worth exploring natural sleep options such as:
- Lavender essential oil
- GABA supplement
- CBD oil (if it is legal where you live)
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.
- 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.
You can purchase your Sleep Hygiene Tips sheet, My Sleep Hygiene Plan and My Sleep Diary templates from my Etsy store to help you get started today on improving your sleep.
Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.