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Sleep Disorders and Fibromyalgia
crystalgreeneyes posted:
I recently went for a sleep study where I stayed overnight and was monitored throughout. I have insomnia. Ha! I knew that already. It is definitely a major problem for me and I take a sleeping pill every night. The sleep specialist also said I have a form of sleep apnea (not obstructive) but in which I stop breathing for a few seconds during REM sleep. This is not really treatable however, and he didn't recommend any treatment. I did learn that it took me an hour to fall asleep, that I slept for a total of 4 hrs. and that I woke up 12 times. This is called "fragmented sleep" which is common for those of us with fibro. This leads to intense fatigue the next day.
We can "retrain" ourselves to sleep normally but he said it can be difficult to achieve especially when pain is involved. If anyone wants to try the CBT method, you would have to stay up until 2.00 am and get up at 7.00 am. and then over a period of time you can start to go earlier and so on. I can't stay up past 10.00 pm usually because although I am not sleepy, I feel exhausted and my pain is at it's worst.
Melatonin must be taken at least 3 hours before bedtime as it allows your brain to prepare you for sleep. Then you need to be in complete darkness in order for your own melatonin to peak. So if this method has not worked for you in the past, maybe you have been taking it incorrectly. I would prefer not to take the sleeping pill and try this but that means withdrawing from the drug. I don't take anything for pain so the bit of sleep that I do get is about the only relief I have. The specialist suggested I continue with what I am taking.
I am obsessed with my sleeping issues. Many fibro sufferers "catastrophize" pain and sleeping problems and that is why CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) can be helpful overall, not just with sleeping but with managing pain, mood swings and anxiety.
rosielou responded:
Hi Crystalgreeneyes,

The retraining for normal sleep that you've described is interesting. Have you been trying it, and if yes, how is it working? What is the dosage for the melatonin?

We don't have the money for a sleep study so I really appreciate that you took the time to write all this.

Thanks for your help

crystalgreeneyes replied to rosielou's response:
Hi Rosie,
Thank you for your reply. I have not tried the CBT method because first, I would have to wean myself off the sleeping pills and I think that will be difficult and take a long time. I would like to try it at some point soon. Melatonin has to be taken in fairly large doses and can be prescribed by your Dr. but he/she would have to advise you of this dosage. I was also told that people take it right at bedtime and then it requires those 3 hours or more to prepare you for sleep and then you actually end up losing those 3 hours during the night. Many people wake up with a headache for the same reason. You must have complete darkness in order for it to peak in your brain and a sleep mask is recommended. You will not feel begin to feel sleepy earlier, because again, it has to be dark. With sleeping pills, they must be taken shortly before bedtime, for example, if you go at 10 pm, you should take it 15 mins. before, go wash up and brush teeth etc and go into your dark room. No lights!! People who take their sleep aids 1-2 hrs ahead and then sit in front of the computer or tv or e-reader etc. are defeating the purpose of this whole affect.
During the day, you should expose your body to plenty of light in order to improve your mood and increase your Vit. D.
The sleep specialist said I could work with him on the sleep retraining or I could try doing it myself. I had to go to another city quite far away for the appt. so it is not an option for me to keep going back and forth to him. He suggested that I look for a group or psychotherapist in my area who works in this area. Maybe you could inquire about it. I hope this is helpful. Restorative sleep is essential for those with fibro. and can relieve a lot of other symptoms if you are dealing with this issue in the right way.

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