Why Sleep Is Important for Fibromyalgia Patients

As I was driving to work this morning I had a sudden realization that I was singing to the song on the radio. I stopped for a minute and smiled as I thought about when the last time was that I spiritedly sang as I drove. Anyone not suffering from fibromyalgia might not understand the gravity of this but to me, it made me realize how good I am starting to feel!

What’s changed? Why now? Well, (as of the date this article was written, 10/11/13) I am still on my mixture of Savella (100mg) and Lyrica (100mg). Still eating gluten-free non-processed, non-GMO organic foods. Two weeks ago I added in 300mg of Gabapentin at night a few hours before bed. I really think that was the tipping point. I was having trouble sleeping so I went to the sleep doctor he said that during my sleep study he was able to see that I did wake up frequently and my brain never let me really get into a deep restful sleep. His hopes with the Gabapentin was that it would switch my brain off just enough to let me sleep. After just two weeks of taking the Gabapentin I am now singing in my car, am practically pain-free and have more energy than I have in ages!

So what does this tell me? Well, it helps me understand the importance of sleep. Per my sleep doctor, my fibromyalgia pain is most likely increased in sensitivity because of my sleep problems. This prompted me to do a bit of research and I found a study conducted by Michael T. Smith, PhD, and colleagues at John’s Hopkins University. They had 2 groups of women and did sleep studies on them for 7 nights. The control group on the last few nights was woken up repeatedly throughout the night (similar to my brain waking me up throughout the night) and they found that in the group that was woken up often, per Smith, “Our research shows that disrupted sleep, marked by multiple prolonged awakenings, impairs natural pain control mechanisms that are thought to play a key role in the development, maintenance, and exacerbation of chronic pain.”

Ok, so keeping their findings in mind and the renewed sleep that I am getting from the diagnosis from my sleep study, I now see that when I don’t sleep I don’t feel good. Sleep is important! I now feel like I can actually spend time with friends or work on my blog after being in the office for 9 hours. If you have fibromyalgia, or even chronic pain, I implore you to go and speak with a sleep specialist. Get a sleep study done if they feel that you might be having issues with sleeping. Even if you don’t snore or have sleep apnea there could be an issue. I have none of the common “issues” related to a sleep disorder. It wasn’t until they reviewed the test and saw my brain switching on over and over while it was supposed to be sleeping that we knew that was the issue.

POST UPDATE: 9/2014 ~ I have since writing this article found out that mixing Lyrica and Gabapentin isn’t a good idea and fortunately it is no longer a concern for me since I’m no longer taking prescription medication but if you are make sure that you don’t mix them 🙂

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Stephanie Sinagra

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Consummate Health Nerd ✌ always exploring new avenues of healing ~ learn w me! ?my dogs, ginger kombucha & healing people! #spoonie To learn more about my story visit here. Have a burning desire to email me? You can do that here! hello@healthnerd.me