Fibromyalgia and Sleep Issues

If you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, you have probably noticed that you have difficulty sleeping. However, is your fibromyalgia causing your sleep problems or are your sleep problems causing your fibromyalgia. Things such as restless sleep, fatigue, lack of sleep, and frequently waking during the night are some of the most common complaints among those suffering from fibromyalgia.

Some researchers are claiming that insomnia and the other sleep disorders are side effects of the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia. On the other hand, some scientists are now claiming that fibromyalgia could be the cause of the sleep disturbances.

Most people with fibromyalgia complain of having difficulty sleeping. No matter how much sleep they get, it’s rare to get restful, quality sleep. Following is some information that can help you to get a better night’s sleep.

What are the Common Sleep Issues with Fibromyalgia?

Sleep problems related to fibromyalgia include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, insomnia, and more. You may wake up frequently and remember it the next day. Even more common is waking up and not remembering it. However, these awakenings interrupt your deep sleep and make you groggy the next day. Additionally, other sleep disorders including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome could possibly be associated with fibromyalgia.

Individuals with fibromyalgia report that they wake up every single day feeling completely exhausted and drained of all energy. Typically, they feel much more tired first thing in the mornings and in order to combat their fatigue, they take naps during the day. Additionally, it is quite common for individuals with fibromyalgia to have difficulty concentrating during the day- which is a condition referred to as “fibro fog.”

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia that can contribute to sleep problems include anxiety and depression.

Restless Leg Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Restless Leg Syndrome, called RLS for short, is a neurological disorder that is characterized by a desperate desire to move your legs while resting. Restless leg syndrome is quite common among individuals who suffer from fibromyalgia. However, you should know that there is treatment available for restless leg syndrome. You should speak with your physician about treatment if you’re experiencing symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Treating this could also help ease your fibromyalgia symptoms.

Sleep Strategies to Help With Sleep Issues Related to Fibromyalgia

Establishing a better sleep schedule can help you to manage your symptoms of fibromyalgia. When you work on improving your sleep, you can possibly help decrease the fatigue, “fibro fog,” and pain associated with your fibromyalgia. Following are some strategies you can employ to try to help with your sleep. Additionally, you can speak with your physician about prescribing a sleeping pill that will be safe and effective that can help you get your body back into the habit of a restful sleep regimen.

First of all, you should only sleep as much as you need to feel refreshed and able to function the next day. You don’t want to sleep any more than that. When you shorten the time you spend in bed, that seems to make your sleep better. When you spend excessive time in bed, that seems to cause fragmented, shallow sleep.

Track your sleep in a sleep diary. Take the time to jot down how you slept during the night and the triggers that caused interference with your sleep. After several weeks, take some time to go over your notes. It can provide some insight into what is causing your sleep issues.

Wake up at the same time every morning- no matter how much or how little you sleep. Waking up at the regular time every day strengthens your circadian rhythm and leads to falling asleep at a regular time every night.

Employ some relaxation techniques. Have your partner give you a gentle massage, practice some deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques can be great for helping you manage your fibromyalgia symptoms and promoting restful sleep.

Make sure you’re getting regular exercise. However, you need to make sure that you don’t exercise within three hours before going to bed because exercise increases your endorphins, and can keep you awake. Exercise could possibly have some beneficial effects by promoting better sleep quality.

If you must have noise when you’re sleeping, sound-attenuated bedrooms could be beneficial. Even if you are not fully awakened by loud noises such as airplanes flying over, your sleep can still be disturbed- even though you don’t remember it the next day.

You should avoid taking really long naps during the day. If you nap too much or too long, it can cause interference with your sleep at night.

The temperature in your bedroom should be cool. If your room is overly warm, it could possibly disturb your sleep.

Try not to go to bed hungry- hunger can possibly cause sleep disturbances. However, you don’t want to eat a full meal but a light snack may help.

Alcohol and caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, so you should avoid consuming either in the evenings.

Can Medication Help with Fibromyalgia-Related Sleep Disorders?

Treating your fibromyalgia symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and pain can help to reduce your sleep problems. Medications that are approved to treat fibromyalgia symptoms are as follows:

  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Lyrica (pregabalin)
  • Savella (milnacipran)

Some of the other medications that are helpful in treating and managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia include muscle relaxers, antidepressants, and pain relievers. Your physicians may also be able to recommend the use of sleep medications.



  • Ramona Barlow

    I have read this…I have just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and am looking up causes and all my symptoms to even see if its something else the doctors are missing…

    Rheumotologist assures me this is no longer in your head and there is no magic bullet for fibromyalgia..apparently I have a sever case of it. I wish I didn’t have it, in fact I cried and told him he could take his diagnosis back. I didn’t want it..I never believed in it! But apparently all this chronic pain, fatigue I have is just a fraction of what I am experiencing with it.

    This fatigue isn’t normal fatigue…someone who doesn’t have this wouldn’t understand it. I before knew of fatigue from just being tired, or just because I exerted myself working hard for a day. I was normally very active, workout, busy, bouncy and now I am no longer.

    I have normal times I go to bed, I wake up early every morning. I have a family, I have kids.
    But, this is like being sick from the flu or being so extremely fatigued or having insomnia, or sleeping a lot to catch up and you wake up still as though you never even tried to catch up and I think to understand it in that deep of a concept would be hard for anyone to understand. I sometimes don’t sleep and then sometimes for long periods of time sleep so much that its almost like I am in a coma and can’t wake up. My eyes you can look at me and see I am exhausted. Its clear by my appearance. I am tired of being tired! I have no energy! And imagine you have other conditions on top of fibromyalgia that won’t allow you to exercise anymore and you can’t eat, sleep, exercise to build your energy…if you can feel that for a day or 24/7 like me then you might understand.

    And chronic pain that feels like you have the flu and someone took a bat and hit you all over your body and left you for dead. That’s how the pain feels. I have always had a high tolerance for pain for years and lived with it thinking oh I will get through this, then had surgery and threw me into a full blown FLARE I can’t get out of and now I have adhesive capsalitis of the shoulder and my rheumotolgist says I am unique, but no exercise only meditation and a psyciatric doctor to help with coping with pain and no more surgery and the only way to get my rotation back is surgery now at this point and I can’t do it.. So no more right arm use. I am right handed.

    So these are nice tips I already do, but it doesn’t work for everyone, but I hope it works for someone!

    • Ramona Barlow

      oh and tried Cymbalta 60 mg didn’t help me, and caused me to sweat intense all day.
      on Savella 100 mg per day (50mg twice daily) not working…and sweating still and wake up drenched.

      Its like you trade a problem for more problems, plus these are tough on your liver they have to watch over you closely…Its terrible. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.