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To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff posted:
Starting March 7th and ending on the 13th when most Americans lose an hour of sleep due to Daylight Savings Time, the National Sleep Foundation is sponsoring National Sleep Awareness Week (This is not a WebMD site and we cannot guarantee content).

We here on the Fibromyalgia community know all about sleep problems.

1. What are your own main sleep issues?
2. Do you use any medications to help you get to sleep and/or stay asleep?
3. What kind of mattress do you like and why?
4. What other habits have you formed to help yourself sleep? Share your tips here.

And check out these slideshows on sleep/sleep disorders - are you in there?

A Visual Guide to Sleep Disorders

Get 20 Tips to Reduce Insomnia by reading through and participating in this slideshow.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
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angelswife responded:
Hi Caprice,
Interesting post! After some thought, I realized that I have almost no reference for what "healthy" sleep feels like. I have had interrupted sleep patterns ever since I was very small.

As a child, I had frequent nightmares, and would wake up screaming. My sleep was also interrupted numerous times by my intoxicated father---never mind why. I suspect I came to believe that not sleeping through the night was a normal thing, because I seldom remember doing it.

As an adolescent I had severe insomnia and panic attacks. I went through long periods of time where I hardly slept at all. I finally began sleeping through the night after I moved into my car, but it didn't happen often. (As an aside, I actually started showing Fibro symptoms at 20, but accepted it as part of life after my doctor said it was all in my head. I was so used to being tired by then that it didn't really matter.)

The only time I really slept well was for a couple of years in my thirties, when I had an apartment I loved. Then I met my husband and I haven't slept well since, lol. Part of the reason is, we have a double bed, and there isn't quite enough room for two people. (I have gotten the occasional black eye or fat lip when he rolls over and catches me with his elbow.) Plus the mattress is old and saggy. The rest is, the anxiety is once again my nighttime companion. I could be dead exhausted when I lie down, but as soon as I start dozing, the least little noise will make me jump awake with my heart racing. It drives me nuts, especially since there isn't a reason for it any more!

I seldom take a sleep aid, as I don't want to become dependent. But once in a great while I will take a Clonazepam, and I will sleep straight through.---I find I need at least 8 hours of sleep, but the only time I even come close to that is on the weekends when my husband doesn't go to work. Weekdays, the alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning; and since I never fall asleep before ten, it always rings way too soon. I told my husband when he retires, the alarm clock is going out the nearest window and we will never have one again. I will throw a party when that day comes!

I do try to meditate at night before I go to bed---that seems to help. Sometimes I will read until my eyes start to close. If I can sneak past that little tripwire in my head, it is easier to fall asleep. I am still coming up with ways to outwit it, as I don't know now what sets it off (unless it's the Fibro, perhaps?). I do have RLS, but that is not an every night thing, so I can't blame the anxiety on that. Maybe I was just "trained" not to sleep well.

Whew---I have gone on a bit, so I'll sign off now. I will say, though, that I am NOT looking forward to losing an hour of sleep this weekend!---Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Caprice---I never realized my "bad" sleep patterns went back that far! :-)
 
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1wareaglefan responded:
Hey, Caprice....thanks for this great topic. Let me see if I can gather my thoughts!

1. My main problem is that I tend to wake up in the middle of the night....maybe several times. Sometimes I'm waking up because I hurt and need to turn over, sometimes it's to get up to go to the bathroom.

2. My antidepressant helps me with my sleep. I discovered this when I stopped taking it a couple of years ago, and I seriously couldn't sleep at all. It was a nightmare....I didn't realize how important it was for my sleep. I also take 1/2 xanax to help me relax and fall asleep.

3. I like a firm mattress, since I have back issues, but I have a memory foam 3" topper that has reduced my pressure point pain.

4. I've found that if I drink tea or diet coke in the afternoon (even at lunch), it keeps me from getting to sleep. I've also discovered that magnesium makes me sleepy, so I take that at night.

I've considered taking something specifically for sleep, but as long as I can get 7 or 8 hours total, I hate to add more medicine.

I look forward to hearing what others have found to work for them.

Elizabeth
 
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sfarris09 replied to 1wareaglefan's response:
Hello there! This is my first time posting in the FM forum. I'm having a hard time navigating it, but never mind that!

1. I have an extremely hard time falling asleep. Staying asleep usually happens, although I do get up several times to go to the bathroom.

2. I take Trazadone to help me sleep, but it also helps with my migraines. Sometimes I have to take 2, which makes it hard to get up the next day, but I'm able to. Also, I take xanax to help me relax. I take a lot of meds to help me with all of my conditions and I think they all work together well to help me :)

3. I have yet to find a mattress that I like. We tried laying on the tempur pedic ones at the store and that has been the best experience I've had laying down since having FM! But right now we can't afford to get one....

4. Sometimes I'll do deep breathing while saying in my head "relax" or "calm". Also, drinking some milk about 30 mins before helps too.

Thanks for posting this, great topic!
 
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to angelswife's response:
Hi Angelswife,

Thank you for your very thorough and thoughtful response, for sharing so much of yourself here.

I was like you in not even remembering what it's like to have a good night's sleep (there was some abuse in my childhood and I suspect being hyper-vigilant then is part of the reason for that) and I do all sorts of things to improve upon that. I cannot recommend a good (and big enough) bed/mattress highly enough. It doesn't necessarily make you sleep through the night but at least it doesn't hurt. Do all you can to improve your environment to make it more restful. Those of us with Fibromyalgia have to take every step possible. (((softhugs)))
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
 
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to 1wareaglefan's response:
I'm glad you found a medication which helps with the sleep, Elizabeth, even if it doesn't solve everything.

I have a memory foam mattress and now at least my mattress isn't one of the causes of my pain. :-) And I, too, stop anything caffeinated - the little I drink - by the afternoon.

Hmmm... thanks for the reminder about magnesium. I may change when I take mine.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
 
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to sfarris09's response:
Hi Sfarris and welcome here! :-) Soon you'll be an old pro at navigating around the place.

Many here who can't afford the memory foam mattresses have found that a good memory foam mattress topper can help.

Nice tip on the deep breathing! :-)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
 
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angelldakota responded:
Hi all... first of all welcome to you sfarris09 ...

1... I have had sleep problems since I was 5... Abuse and nightmares was a lot of it... It is still an issue sometimes now for the pain reminds my mind of the abuse pain and I have PTSD... So I have flashbacks and nightmares again...

2...I use trazadone and abilify and celebrex to sleep... one of those abilify or celebrex are not to make me drowsy but they both do so I take them at night... I am just weird lol... I am backwards as can be... tell me this will keep me awake I will expect a new nap time... tell me this one will put me to sleep better give me the max dose lol...

3... My son just bought me an international bedding mattress with memory foam built in about 3 inches on top... It is real nice... and the price was great... I actually sleep much better... I still wake up screaming in pain... otherwise I might sleep...

I bought a little fountain that is a water fall and it has lights that light it up... It even sounds like a wate4r fall... in a way lol... I lie down and watch it... and I got an angel for Christmas and it has water in her skirt that has different colored sparkles in it... I love to watch it too... sometimes I sit them next to one another...
I also do meditation... If the night is bad and all I can do is lie there with my eyes closed... I meditate...
When you need a friend, reach out to a stranger and you will have one. If you need help, help someone else. if you need to cry, find someone already crying and celebrate life. Love Jan
 
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tiffyduck replied to sfarris09's response:
Hello sfarris and welcome!
I'm still new here too, I read almost eevrything and post a bit here or there if I think if something. Your comment about not affording a mattress reminded me of something.

My brother used to work for Sleepy's. I don't know where you are or if they are nationwide, but I am in CT and we have them all over New England. Anyways, one thing he told me when he used to work for them, was that if you try to haggle the price, or ask for the best they can do, and keep pushing, they can mark down their mattresses very low. It's been a while, so I don't know if it's changed, but it's worth a try. I had been wanting to get a new one and I would have been able to walk in to any sales person, not just him, and get it for about a quarter of the ticket price.

So, to anyone out there looking for a mattress, whether you have a Sleepy's or not, try asking. It doesn't hurt! Sometimes you can get a bargain by pushing a little.

Hope this can help someone! Like I said, I don't know for sure if they still do it, but if anyone tries it let us know! :)
 
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KDee77 responded:
Sleep - so elusive!

Main issues: falling asleep and staying asleep. I wake several times a night to shift positions due to pain. Then I wake feeling more exhausted than the night before. Darn alarm! lol

Medications: I have taken Gravol on occasion since I was told nurses use this to help with sleep problems due to shift changes. I figure if they use it, it must be safe. A doctor prescribed me sleeping pills, but I rarely take them. I average 4-6 hours per night, so when I am worried about getting too run down I will take one. They leave a really nasty taste in my mouth, though, so I prefer not to use them. I find it harder to get to sleep the next night, so I worry about becoming dependent and take them very rarely.
I have tried Sleepytime tea which also seems to help at times.

Mattress: firm with a pillow top. The pillow top seems to help with the discomfort in my joints.

Habits: Might sound silly, but I rock myself for a few minutes. This helps distract me from the pain and creepy feeling of the bedding touching me (drives me crazy) and relaxes me.
Another silly trick: when I have trouble shutting my brain off, I imagine a white, healing light encompassing my body. Focusing on this is another distraction from the pain and thoughts running rampant through my head.
Last silly trick: ever since I was a kid, I have had trouble falling asleep. I started what now seems like a self-hypnosis routine (for lack of a better way to describe it). I start at my feet and work my way up to my head, convincing myself that each area is relaxed/sleepy/without feeling until I have totally relaxed my whole body. Again, focusing on something to distract my mind from the issues keeping me from falling asleep helps me. Since FM, it is a lot harder to convince myself I cannot feel the pain in my body, but I keep trying since it relaxes and distracts me. To each their own - whatever works for each of us, right? :)
A friend gave me some lavender hand lotion to try. It helps her relax and get back to sleep when she wakes in the night. I have allergies and it is quite strong scented, so I put a tiny dab on the inside of my pillow case & it also seems to help me get back to sleep.

I love these questions that help us share issues and tips to get us through what causes us grief. Thanks!

Take care and wishing you good days...

KDee
 
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angelswife replied to KDee77's response:
Hey KDee---here's a trick I forgot to mention before: When I am lying in bed, if I really hurt, I imagine the pain as like a string of Xmas lights going through all the sore places. The lights are all lit up. I work my way down my body, imagining the lights going out (I figure out a way to shut them off) one at a time until they're all off. This seems to turn the pain way down, although I can't explain why. The lights are the pain, in other words, and as I shut them off the pain gets less. Hope this helps. :-)
 
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jroseland replied to angelswife's response:
My sleep problem is also waking up multiple times per night. I fall asleep okay but often for no reason I wake up completely--and often.

I also have had that problem my whole life, but interestingly, I did not have a trauma or suffer abuse as a child like some others mentioned. But I've believed for a long time that my FM is almost purely genetic and that I've had "it" for most of my life.

I honestly don't have problems with anxiety. My mind does not race and keep me up. My body simply does not stay asleep. I wish those doctors that think FM is solely a product of psychological issues would study me because I think I would prove them wrong!

I, right now, take melatonin along with valerian root. I have opted not to take prescription meds because many of them do not work forever and I don't like the side effects of others. But I've had such terrible sleep for the past few weeks, that I may need to have something a little stronger on hand. I also want to try magnesium.

I'm in a bad spell with getting less sleep than usual so right now, I don't have any tricks or advice! I'm not sure what has caused this latest problem, but do we ever see any logic to our symptoms?
 
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Many more great responses, thank you ALL!

I'm especially loving hearing everyone's various tips. :-) Keep 'em coming.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
 
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LavenderPrincess replied to Caprice_WebMD_Staff's response:
Hi,

My sleep varies, but generally seems to be getting better.

We have a memory foam pad on our bed and I use an eye mask that does a good job blocking the light. I also sleep on an ergonomic pillow.

Sometimes, when the guys are up late and talking and watching tv, I wear my ear plugs. Not the greatest, but better than nothing. I'm thinking of buying better ones.

I take my Magnesium not too long before bed time, and sometimes, listen to soft music to wind down. Most of the time I just need to get to bed earlier, it seems. :p
 
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xperky responded:
Hi all,

I see that many of you love your memory foam toppers. But in my web research I found that egg crate latex foam can be softer and breathe better. Plus it's more hypoallergenic and I have mold/dust allergies. They say memory foam can be hot and sweaty and therefore grow molds.

Just wondering if some of you have tried the egg crate latex foam and how it compares in comfort to memory foam.

I can't wait to get something softer under me! My hips, legs and shoulders don't allow me to sleep on my sides and I miss that.

Thanks,
Margaret


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