A Better Night’s Sleep with Fibromyalgia is Possible
Fibromyalgia is best known for the widespread pain and stiffness throughout the muscles and joints of the body, but there are many other symptoms that fibromyalgia sufferers are faced with day to day. Among them are difficulties with sleep, and the combination of pain and sleep disturbances can cause a vicious cycle with the pain making sleep more difficult and the lack of sleep exacerbating the pain.
Ten Tips for Improved Sleep
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule – making sleep a priority by setting a regular sleep schedule can help to reset your internal clock, known as your circadian rhythm. The difficult part is maintaining this schedule even on weekends or other days off, but most fibromyalgia sufferers find it well worth the effort.
- Turn electronics off – avoiding activities that keep your brain stimulated can make it very difficult to wind down before bed. Try setting a time at least an hour before your bedtime when you turn your television, phone, or tablet off. The light that your screens emit is blue in color which has been shown to suppress melatonin production and disturb your body’s circadian rhythm.
- Get moving – regular exercise is an important part of fibromyalgia self-care and can help you get a better night of sleep. Good fibro-friendly exercises that you can build on include yoga, walking, pool workouts, or pedaling on a stationary bike. As you are getting into a more regular exercise routine, be mindful of physical activity too soon before bedtime – make sure you’re leaving at least 3 hours in between your activity and bedtime to give your body time to wind down.
- Try aromatherapy – diffusing essential oils can help bring on feelings of calmness before bedtime. Some good choices to try are lavender, cedarwood, chamomile, frankincense, and clary sage.
- Skip the daytime nap (or keep it short and sweet) – if you’re not getting good sleep at night, it’s expected that you’ll feel tired sometime during the day and want to nap. Unfortunately, this can turn into a double-edged sword for fibromyalgia sufferers since daytime naps can interfere with sleep at night. If a nap is necessary, try and limit to no more than 60 minutes and then be sure to get up and moving right after.
- Avoid stimulants in the evening – substances like alcohol and caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.) consumed too close to bedtime can keep you buzzing. Setting a cutoff time for these things can help you make it through the night better.
- Wind down with a warm bath – dimming the lights and relaxing into a warm bath before bed can feel good on tired or tender muscles and can also prepare your brain for sleep.
- Keep your bedroom cool – sleeping in an environment that is too warm is a surefire way to have an uncomfortable night of sleep. Turning the thermostat down a bit at night to keep your bedroom nice and cool will help set the optimal sleep environment.
- Make sure it’s dark – prepare your bedroom for sleeping by making sure it’s dark. This might include putting up blackout curtains and unplugging nightlights. Even the light from a digital alarm clock display or lights on a modem can create enough ambient light in your room to disturb your normal sleep cycle.
- Get comfortable – if you’re sleeping on an old mattress and worn out pillow, maybe it’s time to give your bedroom an upgrade to set yourself up for the best night of sleep possible.
Nervous System Care for Fibromyalgia Sufferers
It is true that there is still a lot that remains to be understood about fibromyalgia. However, most recent research points to the central nervous system and how, in those with fibromyalgia, it perceives and processes pain differently than those without the condition. This makes proper nervous system care essential for those who live with fibromyalgia. Most people know that chiropractic care can help with neck or back pain but upper cervical chiropractic, a specialized branch of chiropractic care, has been helping fibromyalgia sufferers get back on track by optimizing nervous system function.
The connection that upper cervical chiropractors make is that many cases of fibromyalgia begin in the months or years following a trauma or injury. This injury may have caused an abnormal misalignment of the uppermost vertebra in the neck, the atlas. When the atlas misaligns, it can have a detrimental influence on normal central nervous system function because of where it is located – at the base of the skull in the area of the brainstem. The brainstem controls many of your body’s vital functions, so this misalignment can begin to affect things that cause the most common fibromyalgia symptoms – pain, sleeplessness, cognitive function (“fibro-fog”) and more.
At Centre Kiro Spécifik, we start by taking precise measurements of each patient’s misalignment (no two people are alike) and then build the appropriate adjustment for that individual. This method lets us be extremely gentle while correcting the atlas in the most accurate way possible. These corrections are designed to be as long-lasting as possible, giving your body the time it needs to heal and repair. As a result, many of our fibromyalgia patients report that they are experiencing less pain, sleeping better, and living an improved quality of life. To find out more, please contact us to set up a consultation.