Fibromyalgia & Sleep (#fibromyalgia)

I was going to write something else this evening, but then I was going to write something yesterday too. That’s often the case with fibro, everything is unpredictable.  I was browsing my usual inbox of health notifications at work and an aptly titled “It’s a fact – lack of sleep affects your work rate” appeared.   Now it’s not new to us fibro lot that poor sleep is the bane of our lives. I never for the life of me appreciated how much lack of sleep affects so many parts of your body. If you think it’s just your brain that gets a raw deal, think again.

After a poor nights sleep you feel pain multiple times more extreme, your eyes start burning before it’s even midday. Headaches pound your temples and the back of your eyes. Fibro fog descends so low that it reaches your ankles. With only your feet for guidance you’re walking on ice as a learner skater where your balance is tested to its limits. Somehow you stay upright, but by the time an hour has passed, every muscle in your body aches. Then lightening strikes from the sky and slices through your neck and you feel your eye has shattered, but it’s still there trying to focus on fresh air.

By the end of the day as all these processes have occurred multiple times along with all the little ones that I take for granted. It’s evening, it’s after work and only a few hours to chill before bed. You’re already starting to fall asleep… ironic really, because you long and die for sleep, but it’s impossible.  Even if you sleep on and off, restless legs will bug you all night. The urgency to constantly moves means you could run a marathon in the night.

Despite all this, I refuse to let this stop me working effectively and efficiently. I’m sure there are jobs I would not be suited to due to how fibro affects me but I will not be dedicated to by a condition I hate. I think that is partly what drives me, but I have had to make sacrifices. I start at 10am and finish at 6pm. I split my lunch break in to several smaller chunks. I use Access to Work for travel so that my pain and fatigue is reduced.

So, no, my work rate is not affected, but only because I do things to minimise it. Whether this is sustainable is another thing entirely…

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6 comments on “Fibromyalgia & Sleep (#fibromyalgia)

  1. Regarding sleep for fibro patients, the sleep cycle is interrupted at level 4 deep sleep, where the body’s growth hormone is secreted. Growth hormone is responsible for growth in children, and for tissue healing in adults. When you don’t get the deep sleep your body needs, you feel fatigued even after 8 hours of sleep. It is not the amount of sleep, but the kind of sleep you are not getting that is affecting your fatigue, fibro fog, and all those other symptoms. Lack of deep sleep also affects the normal healing process you body needs, thus the muscle pain. This is a simplified description of what is happening regarding your sleep deprivation. I blogged a book review of a book authored by a physician who also has fibro. She is very knowledgeable about current science in fibro. Very interesting and informative book, which I recommend. mttop72.wordpress.com.

    • It’s funny you should explain that, as that is exactly what I’ve read about sleep and that’s definitely how it feels. Quality is SO lacking in sleep. I’ll have a look on Amazon for the book. Thanks very much. Do you find your sleep affected?

      • Thank you for asking. My sleep is choppy and light generally. I wake up frequently, sometimes just momentarily, but it certainly is not a deep sleep. I am fatigued every day, but since I am retired, I can rest when I need to. I try to do my activities and chores in the a.m., then rest in the afternoon. I do try to keep my sleep activity the same every day, go to bed at the same time, no caffeine or large meals within 4 hours, etc. I believe that helps in falling asleep. I also have spinal stenosis with that kind of pain in my lower back frequently. I am trying to stay off pain medications and am going to try some massage therapy, specializing in trigger point therapy to relieve the myofascial pain. Keep checking my blog, because I will blog on the trigger point issue as soon as I have enough information. It’s nice to be able to exchange information with you.

  2. I had insomnia for 15 years before developing fibromyalgia. There’s a strong connection between sleep and FM; we just don’t totally understand it yet. Beyond the obvious part where we get tired but still don’t sleep well. My pain is always worse when my sleep has been especially bad.

  3. Thank you for liking my blog, it gave me a chance to meet you and I’m a fan of yours now too. Fibro and sleep are mutually exclusive I’m beginning to think. I’ve had fibro for over 5 years and it seems like it is getting worse. hard to imagine, I know. I am proud of you for your strength and willpower. I’m too tired to even summon the energy sometimes to try. You are an inspiration! Glad all of us have each other because truly, no one else understands. Regards, Laurie from hibernationnow.wordpress.com

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