In This Chapter
^ Understanding sleep and its importance for people with fibromyalgia ^ Knowing about sleep stages and their relevance to fibromyalgia syndrome ^ Discovering common sleep disorders for those with fibromyalgia ^ Considering lifestyle changes that enhance sleep ^ Treating sleep disorders with medications and alternative remedies
m uanita's fibromyalgia pain occurs every day, and it's very severe — so bad that she can't work most days and is considering filing for disability benefits. Bob's pain is intermittent; some days are overwhelming, and other days he can pretty much ignore the pain and the fatigue. Darlene feels achy and exhausted nearly every day, but she somehow manages to take care of the kids and work part-time.
All three have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), although the severity of their disease and how they cope with it are very different for each person. They all share one common denominator, though: Juanita, Bob, and Darlene have serious sleep problems, each averaging only about four to six hours of sleep nearly every night.
The majority of people with fibromyalgia (at least 55 percent) have sleep difficulties, whether they have trouble getting to sleep in the first place or frequently wake up after falling asleep. (Some people have both problems.)
Of course, solving sleep disorders doesn't automatically cure your fibromyal-gia. But in many cases, a good night's sleep can considerably ease the pain and the fatigue of your illness. Because pain and fatigue are usually the most troubling symptoms for people with fibromyalgia, resolving sleep problems is clearly very important.
In this chapter, I cover why a good night's sleep is so important for people with fibromyalgia, including spending sufficient quality time in each sleep stage. I also cover the key types of sleep problems that people with FMS experience and offer practical advice on how to achieve the sleep time you need through lifestyle changes, medications, and other immediately doable options.
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