Diet, lifestyle and fibromyalgia insomnia

Here’s my theory, does your diet and lifestyle aggravate fibromyalgia?  Does what you eat and drink stimulate the nervous system and keep you awake at night?  Does not exercising affect sleep?  Does your mindset affect your sleep?  If you answered no to any of these then I would bet you a months wages that it is true, all of it!

I have eaten a largely Paleo based diet for a number of years now, way before I developed fibromyalgia, but I still regularly drank alcohol at weekends.  I gave up regular exercise after my back operation 2 1/2 years ago and tried and quit the gym 3 times with a doctors letter (I didn’t know I had fibromyalgia do thought I was injuring my back further).

I gave up my beloved hypnotherapy hobby as I did not have the energy and my mental health went into crisis mode.  Believe me I hit rock bottom many times! Even begging the doctor to see a Psychologist.

I could not sleep, felt like I had flu, my spinal fusion was hurting like hell and I was so stiff in a morning I had a year off sick in 3 years added together!  I used most of my annual leave to cover up my health problems.

I am sure many of you can relate to the above.  Fibromyalgia is not as complicated as some people make it out to be (Your General Practitioner).  It is a problem with our nervous systems and what affects our nervous systems? Everything! That’s what.  There is no cure, quick fix it’s all down to an approach to life and that means learning new ways to live.  I know what I’m talking about i live with this every day I just could not see it until the last 2 months through research and talking to others I have seen the light.

Fibromyalgia interrupts our sleep and sleep deprivation makes fibromyalgia symptoms worse, so how can WE help ourselves?  

Have you ever kept a food and drink diary and looked into what we eat and drink? Do you still drink several cups of caffeine a day, use cows milk?  Drink alcohol, use sugar? Eat convenience foods?  Skip meals, eat sweets, crisps, cakes and eat everything out of a packet that you shove into the oven or worse a microwave?  I used to.  Here’s what I do now:-

  • I switched to organic (where possible) 
  • I eat plenty of fresh veg, I limit fruit due to the sugar content.  
  • I don’t drink cows milk, who ever decided that drinking another animals milk is good for you?  Calcium is in many other products.  I use alternatives.
  • Ditch caffeine or cut down to one a day, first thing.
  • Ditch sugar, one of the most addictive substances known to man. I use a tiny amount of organic honey in smoothies only.
  • We eat mostly (I’m not a saint) fresh home cooked food.  I guess now you might be thinking I don’t have time to cook?  Make time.  
  • Invest in a slow cooker and get out of bed earlier.  
  • Batch cook, refrigerate and freeze leftovers and make your own TV dinners.
  • Throw away the microwave and use the oven, I did.  Microwaves make us lazy and I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to warm up food with a microwave, have you read how they work?
  • Get a blender and make breakfast the night before
  • Make your own cereal bars or buy organic snacks for when you’re ‘on the go’
  • Don’t eat within 2 hours of going to bed
  • Eat slowly and mindfully, enjoy your food, don’t just wolf it down.
  • Eat smaller portions 
  • Eat every 3 hours to stop yourself from feeling dizzy
  • Ditch white carbs, over processed junk!
  • Ditch processed food full stop
  • Don’t eat anything with ingredients you would never add to home cooked food.
  • Keep takeaways to a monthly treat and go somewhere where the food quality is high standard
  • Stay away from McDonalds, KFC and fast food joints
  • Pub grub is a no no unless home cooked if not they should be avoided unless you want to feel ill!  Ask yourself how sluggish you feel after one!

Remember years ago when your grandmother used to cook, would she go to the shop and throw in processed food into the oven then just throw it on a plate and eat it, no of course not!

This is how my sleep used to look from my Fitbit, absolutely terrible and yes I still went to work but I felt very ill.

A few lifestyle changes, which I will come into another time and changing my diet and this is how it’s changed this week

I haven’t slept 7 hours this year!!

Anything over 4 hours and 30 minutes is a celebration.  Am I cured?  Of course not but no doctor can help you get here.  I’ve tried every sleeping tablet going, Amitryptyline worked for 6 weeks then it stopped and it took me 2 months to wean off them and not I felt ill.

Start looking into your lifestyle, diet choices.  Hey you may even drop those extra pounds you’ve been carrying.  I manage to offload a stone in weight without even hitting the gym regularly.  A big part of aiding sleep also has to be exercise, if you sit round all day and don’t tire yourself out you will not get restful sleep.  But I’ll touch on that next time.  Read more about what YOU can do to help yourself here 


Chemicals and stimulus in Fibromyalgia

I am an avid researcher, when I suffered with spinal deformities I researched it to death knowing I needed a fusion even before it was proven with an X Ray/MRI as I bent in unusual positions and images were took of my lower spine.

I guess if I’m being honest I knew I had Fibromyalgia before I was diagnosed and I knew it was my twisted spine/operation that brought it into my life.

Since researching this and keeping diaries of physical and psychological changes I have absolutely no doubt they we are super sensitive to chemicals and stimulus:-

Heat, cold, weather changes, stressful situations, noise, medicines and drugs like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and all the other crisp our doctors tell us to take ‘it will help you’ paaaah no thanks!!  Exhaust fumes and deodorants!  I hate them, any chemical we put near us or in our bodies!!

But what about food, drinks, products we use every day?  Have you ever ate ‘crap processed food’ for a few days and noticed how it makes you feel?  I have.  It disturbs my sleep, my concentration, my digestive system and my moods 100%.

I don’t drink alcohol, I have 1 coffee before 8am and I try to eat as natural as I can, check out some of the contents of something you put in the oven or worse the microwave, I’ve never heard of these things and would certainly not add them to home cooked food.  I’m not scare mongering but when our grandparents were little food was healthy, natural and home cooked and didn’t contain chemicals or additives read more here.  Is there any wonder more and more people are getting obese or ill and with Fibromyalgia I beg you to check out what you put into your body.  Would put crap into your car?  So why our bodies?

I have followed an 80% 20% rule for about the last 5 years of eating Paleo.  As near to natural as possible, in other words we use fresh veg, meat and fish as often as possible with a few wholewheat additions.  We batch cook and store in the fridge/freezer for when my husband is away and make our own TV dinners but it all goes in the oven.  The microwave has gone in the bin.  I lost a stone in weight from my Underactive thyroid by learning how to cook, not use ‘stuff’ ladened with chemicals.

Here’s another example, I just took a bath and checked out my body scrub and shampoo and conditioners 

What is that all about? Time for some changes I think.  You may think I am being over the top but ask yourself one question would you buy these chemicals off the Internet and eat or rub them on your skin? Of course not.

It’s no secret Fibromyalgia is affected in a negative way by chemicals and stimulus so if we cut them down or ideally eliminate them would we not feel much healthier and well normal?

Quite frankly I would try anything and I am it’s all going in the bin and I’ll see what else I can use.

Read here for scientific studies of chemicals/stimulus affecting Fibro