Are you someone who struggles to get a good night's sleep? Do you find yourself tossing and turning all night, or waking up feeling exhausted? If so, you're not alone.
Millions of people around the world suffer from insomnia and other sleep-related problems. And if you have fibromyalgia, these issues can be even more problematic.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene and get the rest you need.
In this post, we'll discuss some of the best ways to fall asleep and stay asleep when you have fibromyalgia. Keep reading to learn more!
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So many people with fibromyalgia have a tough time falling asleep and staying asleep.
Since their bodies are more sensitive, they're often unable to fall asleep as quickly. In addition, if they're in pain, tossing and turning in bed can aggravate the pain further and cause them to be awake.
As a result, two symptoms of fibromyalgia are fibro fog and extreme fatigue. While a clean diet, fibromyalgia medications, and alternative treatments can mitigate fibro fog and fatigue to some extent, nothing quite beats a good night's sleep for restoration and healing.
Living in a constant battle with fibromyalgia symptoms or dealing with high-stress levels and living in isolation, it can feel comforting to turn to late-night television, midnight snacking, and endless scrolling of social media applications when you can't sleep. But unfortunately, these coping skills can lead to you being more tired than ever.
Often it takes experimenting with one's evening routine, adjusting your lifestyle, and adding positive habits to discover how to get better rest.
Here are some tips for better sleep when dealing with fibromyalgia:
STAY ON SCHEDULE
Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, including on weekends. Routine will establish a sleeping pattern that helps your body get sleepy faster and help get into REM sleep, which is needed to rest and repair the mind.
Try not to change your patterns because it's the weekend and you are wanting to sleep late. Generally, if you need to sleep in, you're not getting enough sleep daily.
Try and sleep for three days without an alarm clock. Instead, wake up only when you're fully awake. Then, record the total number of hours you were asleep and divide it by three. Doing this will give you an idea of how many hours of sleep you need daily. Then, go to bed at the appropriate time to get the required amount of rest.
MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A SLEEP HAVEN
Your bedroom should only be for sleeping. Don't work or watch TV there. Keep digital and electronic devices out of the room. Your brain will associate it with sleeping and not other activities by only sleeping in your bedroom.
Do you prefer a soft, comfortable bed? Remember to ensure that it provides enough support for your body. A comfortable bed and pillow are prerequisites for good sleep.
Your bedroom should be dark and slightly cool. Consider using blackout curtains to shut out as much light as possible. If there are tiny switches in your room with small red-light indicators, block them out.
Make sure your alarm clock is not giving off some light too. Unfortunately, the digital ones sometimes do. It may seem extreme, but even these tiny lights can disrupt one's sleep.
To keep your room cool, use a fan or an air conditioner. If this isn't possible, try cooling sheets. You shouldn't be sweating in bed.
Try not to use mobile devices such as your phone and laptop at least 2 hours before bedtime. The device's screens emit a blue light that confuses your body and makes it think it's daytime. If you need to work late, try using a screen or blue-light-blocking glasses that reduce the intensity of the light given off by these devices.
SLEEP WITH A HEATING PAD
The heating pad should be set on a low setting to avoid burning the skin and can be placed anywhere on the body that hurts the most to loosen the muscles and relieve pain while you sleep.
TRY A NOISE MACHINE
If sleeping in a quiet room causes your thoughts to run, you can try to sleep with a white noise machine. Noise machines help induce sleep and keep you sleeping throughout the night. Some devices will go all night, while others have settings to shut off at a specific time. They also make machines that mimic the sounds of the ocean, rain, or a babbling brook.
EAT DINNER EARLIER
One common habit that makes falling asleep more difficult is eating too close to bedtime. When you eat close to bedtime, your body springs into action to digest food. However, during sleep, the only job that your body should be doing is healing and regenerating itself.
You may need to eat a small snack to bring up your blood sugar, as low blood sugar can interfere with sleep. However, eat large meals about 3-4 hours before sleeping, so digestion doesn't interfere with sleep.
LESS ALCOHOL AT BEDTIME
Alcohol reduces your ability to get a deep night's sleep. Therefore, it would be best if you had your last alcoholic beverage no sooner than four hours before attempting to go to bed.
AVOID CAFFEINE BEFORE SLEEP
Caffeine stimulants our mind interfering with our ability to get to sleep and stay asleep. Therefore, it's best not to drink caffeinated beverages within four hours of trying to get to sleep.
TRY CHAMOMILE TEA
Chamomile tea offers several benefits for the body, including inducing relaxation so that you can sleep. This mildly flavored medicinal tea is also appropriate for alleviating menstrual cramping that might be keeping you from falling asleep.
► Traditional Medicinals, Organic Chamomile with Lavender
REVIEW WHEN YOU EXERCISE
Exercise is physically and mentally stimulating, interfering with getting into a relaxed state before sleep. If you want to exercise, try to do short bursts of exercise for about 5-6 hours before falling asleep. If you want a calming exercise to try before bedtime, consider restorative yoga, which can promote sleepiness.
TAKE A WARM BATH
Enjoy a warm bath with calming essential oils like lavender right before bedtime. If you do this as part of a nightly ritual, it can work as a trigger to train the brain to know when it's bedtime, helping you find the rest you need so much.
► Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Bath Soaking Solution: Hemp Seed Oil, and Soothe & Sleep with Lavender
Before sleep, you can do meditation to relax the muscles, ease pain, and reduce stress before sleeping. Meditation also helps lessen pain perception in those who have fibromyalgia and can be used during times of stress to decrease tension.
► Meditation Techniques for Fibromyalgia
IF YOU STILL CAN'T SLEEP
Nothing is worse than lying in bed, suffering from pain, and being unable to sleep. Unfortunately, however, when you have fibromyalgia, this is what some nights are like, even with the best of sleep hygiene and stress reduction.
It's best not to stay in bed if you can't sleep. Instead, if you can't get to sleep after a half hour or so of trying, you should get out of bed, use the restroom, and perhaps read. Getting up will take your mind off the stress of not getting to sleep, and you can use this time to get a little more tired.
If possible, move to another room in the house. Then, when you feel tired again, try to go back to bed and attempt to sleep again, meditating on a comforting thought or situation to put you in a frame of mind to sleep.