Good sleep plays a crucial role in allowing for healthy bodily functions throughout the day. Many adults, though, don’t get enough sleep, or adequate sleep. Research suggests the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while millions report poor sleep quality or sleep problems, making it more difficult to get enough sleep.
Certain medical conditions, including fibromyalgia, can limit your ability to get a good night's rest. So, if you’re experiencing widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness, sleep problems, and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia, you’ll be interested in learning some tips to sleep comfortably with fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia, also referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome, is a chronic, long-lasting medical condition resulting in mild to severe, chronic pain, sleep disorders, emotional disturbances, and mental distress.
Experts report fibromyalgia pain is associated with an impact on how the brain and spinal cord process pain. As a result of abnormal pain perception processing, fibromyalgia patients frequently experience widespread pain in situations that a person not living with this medical condition might be unaffected.
How Many People are Affected by Fibromyalgia?
Approximately two percent of the population, or nearly four million Americans in the United States alone, receive a fibromyalgia diagnosis each year. Fibromyalgia syndrome has been shown to affect women two times more than men; however, this medical condition has no boundaries in that it affects people of all genders, ethnicities, and ages.
People living with certain medical conditions are at an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia. A few of these conditions include:
- Chronic back pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
While there is no known cause or cure for fibromyalgia, treatment is designed to treat common symptoms, including TMJ, tension headaches, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is accompanied by many symptoms, which vary from person-to-person, including:
Whether it be mental, physical, or a combination of the two, fatigue is classified as feelings of constant weakness or tiredness. Fibromyalgia is associated with extremely low levels of energy or feeling like you need to sleep all day. Fatigue is common, and most people experience fatigue at some point in their lifetime, but people who have fibromyalgia can have fatigue that is chronic.
Millions of people worldwide experience signs associated with depression. Of the common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, depression is marked by significant feelings of overwhelming sadness, feeling hopelessness, and experiencing a loss of interest in activities that once sparked joy. Depression has been linked to serious sleep problems, and difficulty maintaining a healthy diet whether it be due to overeating or not eating enough, as well as chronic pain.
Anxiety is a serious mental health condition resulting in constant fear, or a worried state. If you live with anxiety, you may experience an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, or profuse sweating, as well as fatigue, palpitations, and sleep problems. Anxiety is a normal reaction to certain social situations, such as public speaking events.
However, when you become anxious during everyday activities, or experience a serious loss of interest in daily life, it may be time to seek professional medical advice from your healthcare provider.
Fibromyalgia is linked to poor overall sleep quality, including insomnia. Insomnia is marked by a significant disturbance in the ability to fall asleep, or stay asleep. Sleep problems, or a lack of sleep, have been proven to exacerbate depression — another common symptom of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia has been linked to chronic, daily pain felt throughout the entire body. If you have fibromyalgia, you may experience pain in the form of headache, jaw pain (TMJ), facial pain, or overall generalized body pain, as the mind and spinal cord are unable to accurately process pain, making it more severe than the average person may experience.
People with fibromyalgia experience gastrointestinal (GI) problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. Gastrointestinal pain and problems can significantly affect sleep quality a person may achieve, further exacerbating all other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Joint stiffness
- Sensitivity to temperatures, smells or odors, sounds, and light
- Tenderness to touch due to improper pain reception
- Tingling in the feet and hands
How does Fibromyalgia Affect Sleep?
Fibromyalgia affects many parts of the body from musculoskeletal and skin diseases to sleep quality. Fibromyalgia symptoms are serious and potentially life-altering; however, fibromyalgia-related sleep problems can significantly impact a person’s daily life. Whether you enjoy side sleeping or another more comfortable sleeping position, fibromyalgia and sleep disturbances can result in the inability to achieve deeper sleep, or make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Fibromyalgia and Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome, a common symptom of fibromyalgia, causes uncontrollable urges to move legs and feet, and overall body discomfort. RLS symptoms include daytime fatigue, sleep deprivation, and widespread pain. RLS symptoms from fibromyalgia tend to exacerbate trouble sleeping, making it difficult to get a good night’s rest. More than ⅓ of people with fibromyalgia experience restless legs syndrome.
Fibromyalgia and Insomnia
According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia is a sleep disorder affecting one’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, resulting in poor quality sleep. According to sleep specialists, insomnia is a primary symptom and diagnostic tool that people with fibromyalgia experience. People living with insomnia may benefit from over-the-counter sleep medications to achieve restorative sleep.
Stress and Fibromyalgia
Everyone experiences stress at one point in their life, whether it be stress from daily life at home, or stress from an overwhelming workload; however, chronic stress has been linked to serious health conditions. Extreme stress on the body can weaken the body, and make a person more susceptible to fibromyalgia symptoms, including sleep disturbances and pain.
Tips for Sleeping with Fibromyalgia
People with fibromyalgia face many difficulties in life from harsh fibromyalgia symptoms of pain, sleep problems, and various skin diseases. The following tips and tricks are recommended to help manage fibromyalgia pain, and improve sleep.
Choose the Right Sleeping Position
Experts recommend people with fibromyalgia experience symptom relief sleeping on a medium-firm to firm mattress on their back. Sleep specialists recommend using a thin pillow to allow for proper spinal alignment throughout the night. Back sleeping is one of the most recommended sleep positions, as the proper spinal alignment is held throughout the night providing back pain relief.
It is important to note that experts do not recommend people with fibromyalgia and sleep apnea sleep on their back, as this increases the risk of developing an airway obstruction from the tongue.
Partake in Moderate Exercise
Engaging in regular, light exercise can improve symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and other medical conditions secondary to it, such as restless legs syndrome, anxiety, and depression. You mustn't push yourself too hard when engaging in exercise, if you are living with restless legs syndrome, as it can worsen the pain.
Avoid Certain Drinks Before Bed
Consuming caffeinated beverages or alcohol too close to bedtime can interfere with getting deep sleep. Sleep specialists recommend avoiding caffeine after lunchtime to reduce the chance of experiencing difficulty sleeping. In addition, consuming alcohol before bed can harm sleep quality.
Though alcohol acts as a sedative, it does not allow the brain to enter into deep, restorative sleep, leaving you to wake the next morning feeling excessively tired, regardless of how much sleep you got.
Create a Healthy Sleep Environment
Do you have a habit of climbing into bed at night, and turning on your favorite television show, or scrolling through social media platforms, only to realize hours have gone by, and you are still awake?
Creating a healthy sleep space allows the mind and body to fully relax, and enter into slow-wave sleep during the night. Sleep specialists recommend avoiding watching television, or using electronic devices too close to the bed, as the blue light emitted alters the brain’s ability to enter into a restorative, deep sleep.
Add Herbal Supplements into Your Diet
Certain over-the-counter supplements, including vitamin D, can help reduce symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. A deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to serious sleep problems, and difficulty entering into restorative, or slow-wave sleep.
Similarly, those living with fibromyalgia are often at an increased risk of experiencing deficient levels of vitamin D. People with fibromyalgia have reported beneficial effects of consuming daily vitamin D, including a significant reduction in widespread pain.
Sleep on a Latex Mattress
Many people believe sleeping on a memory foam mattress is the best option available, as they associate memory foam with comfort; however, people living with fibromyalgia find a more supportive, firm mattress to be beneficial.
A latex mattress, often classified as an orthopedic mattress, offers exceptional support as well as offers a non-toxic, chemical-free sleep environment. At PlushBeds, we offer many outstanding natural latex mattresses made of 100 percent natural latex and organic cotton. Our mattresses are vegan, chemical-free, animal-free, wool-free, and hypoallergenic.
When the mind can enter into slow-wave sleep, restoration can occur; however, if you live with fibromyalgia, you may experience difficulty sleeping which ultimately can leave you feeling overly tired the following day. High-quality sleep is crucial in allowing you to experience restorative properties, memory formation, and maintain optimal health.
At PlushBeds, we understand the importance of a good night’s rest, which is why we strive to provide the tools needed to achieve restorative sleep. Our main goal is to ensure you are equipped with a safe, non-toxic, chemical-free mattress, as the average person should spend at least 8 hours per day in bed to achieve the recommended minimum sleep hours.
When you sleep, the body and mind can relax, reset, and prepare to do it all the next day. If you are experiencing symptoms that are affecting your daily life, or those mentioned above, it may be time to reach out to your primary care provider for a consultation and examination to determine the source.
Fibromyalgia affects millions of people each year, and there is no exact cause or cure. Although life with fibromyalgia leaves a person at an increased risk of altered pain perception, pain management and symptom treatment are possible.
If you’re not sure where to start in finding your perfect mattress, PlushBeds features a quiz specifically tailored to you that can help you find your perfect fit. As a manufacturer that sells directly to our customers, PlushBeds has taken customer feedback, and used it to create the perfect mattress quiz.
Take the perfect mattress quiz here, which can reveal what is the best mattress for fibromyalgia.
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