Last month, we focused on how important sleep is in the management of the fibromyalgia (FM) and the relationship between sleep dysfunction and Restless Leg Syndrome. Now that it’s clear that the sleep and FM pairing is so important, how can we improve sleep quality? As stated last month, FM and sleep dysfunction go hand in hand and is a consistent complaint of the FM patient. The need to establish better “sleep hygiene” has been found to be one of the most important treatment strategies for those suffering from FM. This can help decrease pain, fatigue, and the “fibro fog” that is often described that impairs the ability to concentrate and work efficiently. Listed below are some sleep strategies that work very well, all you have to do is try them!
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- SLEEP QUANTITY: The advice is to only sleep as much as is needed to feel refreshed and alert the following day. Getting too much sleep does not equate to good quality sleep. In fact, reducing the time in bed seems to improve the quality of sleep, as excessively long periods of time in bed result in fragmented, superficial or shallow sleep and doesn’t allow one to enter the deeper, restoring stages of sleep.
Fibromyalgia (FM) management can be as difficult as making a definitive diagnosis. FM is characterized by generalized body aches and feeling exhausted, and yet, in spite of the exhaustion, the inability to sleep is a “classic” FM complaint. Some have referred to FM as “blowing a fuse” or as an “energy crisis,” as more energy is expended than what’s being made. FM sufferers, as well as the caregivers, know how physically and mentally difficult it is to manage this controversial condition. Many management strategies that have been published; SHINE is one approach. SHINE stands for Sleep, Hormones, Infections, Nutritional supplements, and Exercise. By focusing treatment strategies on these 5 areas, significant benefits can be achieved.
SLEEP: Some feel this is the most important problem to manage in order to gain control of FM. If we cannot reach “deep sleep,” (which is the sleep stage that is usually reached after about the 4th hour into sleep) then the body cannot fully rest. When discussing sleep problems with the FM patient, it is common to hear them say, “…I wake up every 1-2 hours and can’t get back to sleep for at least 15-30 minutes.” Continue Reading →
For the last 2 months, we’ve discussed the importance of sleep and its effect on low back pain (LBP). Last month, we offered 9 ways to improve sleep quality, and this month we will conclude this topic with 11 more. Sleep deprivation has been called, “…an epidemic” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To achieve and maintain good health, we must ensure restorative sleep! Here are additional ways to do that (continued from last month):
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- Avoid snacks at bedtime …especially grains and sugars as these will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you not only wake up but falling back to sleep becomes problematic. Dairy foods can also interrupt sleep.
Last month, we discussed the relationship between sleep deprivation and low back pain (LBP) and found that LBP can cause sleep loss AND sleep loss can cause LBP. It’s a 2-way street! This month, we will look at ways to improve your sleep quality, which in return, will reduce your LBP. There are many ways we can improve our sleep quality. Here are some of them:
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- Turn off the lights: Complete darkness (or as close to it as possible) is best. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes.