Sleep Problems Associated with Fibromyalgia

An estimated 10 million Americans suffer daily with the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, according to National Fibromyalgia Association. While some fibro sufferers seem to get plenty of sleep, they awake up feeling tired and groggy. The reason, experts suggest, is that these fibro sufferers rarely reach the deep restorative stage of sleep.

Learning how to cope with sleep issues associated with fibromyalgia is important to not only to feel more rested, but also to reduce your pain. Many fibro patients have reported that when they get better sleep, they have less pain.

Strategies to Cope and Reduce Fibro Sleep Issues

Here are some strategies to improve your sleep.

  • Reduce stressors. Some experts find that when fibromyalgia patients reduce stress in their lives, they also experience a reduction in depression and anxiety, and as a result sleep becomes more restful. If you are hanging around people or working at a job that makes you feel anxious and stressed on a daily basis, you might want to reconsider.
  • Learn to say "No." Setting limits and boundaries is important to those with fibromyalgia. While helping others is commendable, overloading yourself with commitments and demands is not. Honor yourself by saying "no" to requests when you know they will push you beyond your limit.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise can help regulate your mood and assist in pain-relief through the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain-relieving chemicals. Go for a walk, swim, or ride a bicycle three to five times a week, for at least 30 minutes. Experts have found that those who exercise regularly are less likely to have sleep disorders.
  • Reduce caffeine intake. While caffeine might help you get through the day, too much caffeine can greatly increase insomnia. Reduce your intake of coffee, chocolate, sodas and caffeinated teas.
  • Soak in a warm bath before bedtime. Not only does soaking in a warm bath help relax tense muscles and relieve pain, sleep disorder experts have found that a warm bath before bedtime can help individuals have a more restful sleep.
  • Meditate. Meditate in the morning for 10 minutes to start the day fresh, and meditate at night for 10 minutes to release the day's tensions. Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Breathe in slowly to the count of 5. Hold your breath for two counts. Breathe out slowly to the count of five. Hold the breath out for two counts. Repeat. Having a regular meditation practice will teach your body and mind to relax, and will enable you to have a more restful sleep.
  • Create the right environment for sleep. Make sure your room is dark, quiet, and not too hot or cold. Stop watching television or working on the computer at least an hour before you plan to go to bed. Take a warm bath, get into your pajamas, and meditate. Think of at least three things you are happy about from the day. Practicing gratitude can reduce anxiety, and make for a more restful sleep.

Bottom Line

Since fatigue is one of the main painful characteristics of fibromyalgia, getting sufficient quality sleep is essential.

Note: It's important to know that you are not alone. Organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation and the American Chronic Pain Association provide educational classes and support groups for those with fibromyalgia.


Arthritis Foundation: "Fibromyalgia: Treatment Options." Web. 19 May 2010.

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Fibromyalgia." Web. 19 May 2010.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "What is Fibromyalgia? Fast Facts." Web. 19 May 2010.

National Fibromyalgia Association: "About Fibromyalgia." Web. 19 May 2010.