Ha if I knew that I’d be a millionaire!! Now here’s the thing; Fibromyalgia causes insomnia and insomnia is one of many drivers in increasing fibromyalgia symptoms. I once read an article about some controlled tests that were performed on ‘healthy’ volunteers; they were kept awake or continuously awoken over several days and then tested how they felt mentally and physically whilst also performing cognitive tests, all of the volunteers showed symptoms of fibromyalgia, even down to increased levels of pain.
I go through periods of insomnia and I track my progress with a Fitbit. I actually only used to sleep 3-4 hours a day until I established healthier pre sleep activities and then I increased that average to 5-6 hours, I will go into that in more detail in a second. But then insomnia creeps back in and my average drops back down to 3-4 hours. Read more here
You’re probably wondering what I did differently to help me sleep? These are what I can remember:-
- Reduced caffeine intake to 1 cup a day (I’ve gone back to 2is this why I now cannot sleep?)
- I quit drinking alcohol
- I never eat within 3 hours of going to sleep
- I have a warm bath with magnesium flakes every night before bed
- I take a vitamin super supplement each night that includes melatonin, chamomile and 5htp amongst others
- I undertake some form of exercise 4/5 times a week either yoga or my power plate, yes even when I feel rubbish, mind over matter
- I practise meditation daily, especially at night (now this has most definitely slipped off my radar just before bed, I need to start doing it before bed again)
- I wear UV glasses when it gets dark to cut out the blue light from the tv and my phone
- I drink 2-3 litres of water a day but never 90 minutes before bed
- My bedroom is kept cool at around 19 degrees maximum
- My bedroom is completely dark with blackout curtains
- I wear earplugs for complete quiet
- I quit taking medication every night for insomnia
- Reduced consumption of chemicals by using organic
- Reduced consumption of non natural foods, do not underestimate the effects of a poor diet!!
Now around 3 weeks ago I started to feel ill like I had some kind of virus, it wasn’t a cold or flu (thankfully my immune system always fights these off plus I take a super supplements with 21 different vitamins in). Ever since I had this short lasting virus I have not slept for more than 2-4 hours a night and this has set off many fibromyalgia symptoms;
- Restless legs
- Nerve pain
- Muscle aches and stiffness (like having the flu coming on)
- Mood swings
- Pins and needles or burning on my skin all over
- Cognitive issues; memory and concentration issues
- And one of the worst; fatigue which I feel like I’ve got a constant hangover, coming down with flu type feeling
All this just because I cannot sleep!!
It’s a vicious circle as sleep deprivation increases symptoms of fibromyalgia and fibromyalgia causes insomnia. Due to having a near miss in my car I even asked my doctor for a couple of sleeping tablets, but they did not work 😂, I have to laugh.
So what should I do, give in, quit, start feeling sorry for myself? No, that won’t solve anything. I will tackle this problem like I do every other problem, by being practical. The solution does NOT lie in regular meds again, it lies within me. I just need to figure this out. I’m going to cut down my caffeine to one a day at 6.30am, stop watching tv half hour before bed and do some meditation/mindfulness yoga and when I cannot sleep I am going to start getting up and meditating rather than tossing and turning in bed all night.
The hardest thing about having insomnia is not being able to sleep in my own bed as I keep my husband awake 😦
If you read this and can relate don’t give up, don’t resort to meds as that’s just a bandaid, use them sparingly and take a long look at your daily activities and lifestyle as the key to removing insomnia will be in there somewhere.