Fibromyalgia and Sleep – Two Systems That Have Got To Work Together

May 12th Fibro Awareness Day

Today is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Once again I had big plans for this week for Fibromyalgia Awareness Week. But once again Fibromyalgia had a different plan in mind for me. How typical! It started Sunday night at bedtime when I realized I was out of Ambien. I grabbed a handful of Benadryl and Zanaflex and headed to bed to make the most of it. The most of it lasted for 2 1/2 hours of sleep for that night. Needless to say there was no stages 3 & 4 sleep in those 2 1/2 hours so my body did not get the proper amount of rest it needed to refresh itself for the next day. So the next day I managed as best I could to get through the day, knowing that I would have my Ambien back for Monday night. However, Ron got to the pharmacy after they closed Monday evening so I had a second night without my Ambien. I loaded my hands up with more Zanaflex and some Sominex. So I was tired, sleepy, near tears, took too much medicine and got nauseous and just to make things extra fun I got a nice helping of RLS too. However, I did sleep better. Yesterday I convinced Ron to go to Target pharmacy at LUNCHTIME to give them plenty of time to have it all ready. Thankfully last night I got a full night of sleep with lots of time in stages 3 & 4 so I woke up much more refreshed this morning.

IF you are at all familiar with Fibromyalgia you probably know the very basics about it – the pain and the fatigue. Those are the most common complaints associated with the condition. The most common means of treatment are medication and exercise. But other than those the most natural form of treatment is a full night of sleep involving all 5 stages of sleep. It is in levels 3 and 4 that our bodies slow down enough to restore and recharge our body systems. Our bodies produce hormones during these stages that encourage tissue repair and recharge our immune system. Without those two levels our bodies do not fully rest – we do not get the proper level of recharging or the correct amount of hormones to repair tissues and muscles needed to give our Fibromyalgia bodies/muscles a fresh start the next day. Without proper sleep (all 5 stages) your body is basically giving up on itself. Another problem for those with Fibro is a lacking of the serotonin level. Serotonin levels effect our moods (why most of us with Fibro are also clinically depressed) but it also aids in our body reaching those deeper levels of sleep.

So Fibro isn’t just about pain and fatigue it really starts in the brain. And no I’m not saying it’s “all in the head” like some doctors believe it is. But I am saying “it’s all in your head” because that’s where the chemical reactions take place that affect our sleep patterns. A little medicine can correct that though and you can live a somewhat normal life in the means that something is available to try to correct those chemical malfunctions. Don’t be afraid of medicine. We need it. It can make our lives easier and less stressful on our bodies. It can do a body good! Medicine is not the enemy. It is our friend. Finding the right combination is the key for each person’s body.

I don’t recommend running out of Ambien though…..EVER!!!!! BEcause just because it’s not all “in your head” doesn’t mean it’s not all “in your head”.