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Are sleep and fibromyalgia related? Many people with fibromyalgia do experience problems that interfere with sleep, making it harder to get the quality and quantity of sleep necessary to ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. A few suggestions for better sleep include keeping a regular sleep-wake cycle, winding down before bed, and avoiding daytime naps.

Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Sleep and fibromyalgia appear to have an effect on each other. Getting enough sleep and the right kind of sleep can help ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. Even so, many people with fibromyalgia have problems -- such as pain, restless legs syndrome, or brain-wave irregularities -- that interfere with restful sleep.
Here are some tips that might help people with fibromyalgia improve the quality and quantity of their sleep:
  • Keep regular sleep habits. Try to get to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day -- even on weekends and vacations.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. If consumed too close to bedtime, the caffeine in coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and some medications can keep you from sleeping or sleeping soundly. Even though it can make you feel sleepy, drinking alcohol around bedtime also can disturb sleep.
  • Time your exercise. Regular daytime exercise can improve nighttime sleep. But avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime, which actually can be stimulating and could keep you awake.
  • Avoid daytime naps. Sleeping in the afternoon can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you feel you can't get by without a nap, set an alarm for one hour. When it goes off, get up and start moving.
  • Reserve your bed for sleeping. Watching the late news, reading a suspense novel, or working on your laptop in bed can stimulate your mind, making it hard to sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Avoid liquids and spicy meals before bed. Heartburn and late-night trips to the bathroom are not conducive to good sleep.
  • Wind down before bed. Avoid working right up until bedtime. Do relaxing activities that get you ready to sleep, such as listening to soft music or taking a warm bath. (As an added benefit, the warm bath may soothe aching muscles.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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