Fibromyalgia can be extremely debilitating and sleep often becomes a challenge. I have been officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia for about two years, but I have struggled with insomnia for most of my life. One of the main causes of sleep troubles in individuals with fibromyalgia is because as the brain begins to rest, it starts focusing on bodily pain. By focusing on the pain caused by fibromyalgia, we can become agitated, and, in turn, our sleep suffers. It has taken me a long time to create a nighttime routine that is beneficial for my sleep, and it takes patience and perseverance. The following tips are the five most helpful things that I have found beneficial for my sleep as someone with fibromyalgia, and I hope they will bring you some relief!
1) Consider the help of medication to sleep better with fibromyalgia.
I know that medication is often a controversial topic, but working with a psychiatrist familiar with fibromyalgia (as well as my various mental illnesses) I have found that medication is a lifesaver for me. There are many medications available to help assist your sleep, and some of them even help fibromyalgia pain; however, there are also natural herbal options available if you would rather go that route. Working with a professional who specializes in either traditional or herbal medications or supplements will help you to determine which option is ideal for you. The links below also discuss the diverse options that are best for individuals with fibromyalgia, so if you can, take the time to do some research and consider what the best option is for you. Herbal teas such as sleepy time tea can also be a soothing part of your nighttime ritual.
2) To fall asleep with less pain from fibromyalgia, try taking a shower or bath before going to bed.
Apart from sleep and fibromyalgia pain management through medication, I have found that taking a shower before I go to bed is incredibly helpful. The warm water soothes my pain and putting on lotion afterward makes me feel soothed and calm. Pampering your body in this way may help to ease your pain and prepare your body for rest. Following my shower, I also drink some hot tea to help soothe my body on the inside. This routine helps me to feel soothed from the inside out.
3) Listen to soft music and/or read before bedtime.
After I take my shower and pamper my body with lotion, I turn on smooth jazz and read for an hour or so before bed. I put my phone away and don’t look at it until the next morning. Taking this step away from technology while comforting my mind with a book and absorbing the healing power of soft music helps to slow down my mind. It also allows me to become more in tune with my body. I have found that when I am experiencing fibromyalgia pain, taking this time to calm my body assists me in finding comfort as I prepare for bed.
4) Try some light stretching or yoga to reduce fibromyalgia pain and improve sleep.
Soft movement has been found to be beneficial for those living with fibromyalgia, and I find that when I am experiencing a lot of pain, yoga and careful stretches bring me some relief. However, movement is different for everybody, and if this form of movement makes you feel more pain, then please do listen to your body and discontinue whatever may be hurting you. The most important thing to remember when trying simple movements is that your bodily experience is your own, and you must listen to the signals your body is giving you. It can take some time to discover which movements bring you comfort – if any – so please be kind to yourself.
5) Sleep in a darkened room and/or wear a sleep mask.
Calming the senses is a crucial step when preparing for sleep. If we become too overwhelmed by our senses, our brain will not be able to rest, and insomnia can become problematic. I personally enjoy leaving string lights on in my room because it helps me with my schizoaffective disorder, but I do wear a sleep mask to help comfort my eyes. After I have my mask on, I try to focus on my breathing by counting an inhale for four counts followed by an exhale for four counts and continuing this method until I fall asleep. Focusing on my breathing and counting also helps me to take my focus away from my pain.
Sleep is such an essential aspect of managing fibromyalgia, and while it is frustrating to work through insomnia and determine what bedtime routine is best, relief is possible. Not all of the above tips may work for you, but the only way you can know what works and what doesn’t is through trial and error. Perseverance is key, and I have the strongest faith in you. You deserve rest and recovery, and I am sending love and healing your way.