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 

Fibromyalgia and exercise

I read this article on the Internet here and found the advice to be very good.

I used to be extremely fit, lifting heavier weights than my husband even!! I’d work out 6 times a week and could burn upto 1000 calories an hour, I used to eat a lot of protein and complex carbs to keep the energy levels up.  Since I’ve been in constant pain it has been hard as Fibromyalgia increases my exercise soreness to the extreme.  I literally feel like I have flu.

The more exercise a person does the stronger we become and that means the less tired we get undertaking normal activities.  I switched from interval training and weights to nothing and boy did I feel like death.  I had more stiffness, aching, felt more tired after just pottering around and I felt more stressed, less endorphins!!

I decided to restart yoga, mindfulness yoga, managed 2 x 20 minute sessions this week, one day on and one day off etc.  I also forced myself to go swimming today after work.  I only did 8 lengths, s far cry from the 40 I used to do about 4 years ago.  I am hurting now but I feel happy I went and I know tomorrow I will ache but I just need to remember why; it’s my body’s way of telling me I did some good and I might have a tough day tomorrow but the long term benefits of exercising outweight the negative.

I’ve included a picture of my Fitbit page to show you how it helps me track my day. Last night was one of the best sleeps I have had, over 5 hours with less thrashing around (check out the blue lines), I hit all my goals apart from steps, but that’s ok because I’ve been swimming.


My calories are still quite low but that is okay.  I’ve ate plenty of low calorie food today I certainly haven’t starved myself.