Fibromyalgia specialists agree that getting a good night's sleep is essential and most say inadequate sleep is the first symptom they treat. Many of the FM symptoms - body aches and pains, fatigue, headaches, depression, irritability, digestive problems - are also the classic symptoms of sleep deprivation. That's not to say fibromyalgia is simply a sleep disorder; there's much more to it than that. But it's clear that unrefreshing sleep does make the symptoms worse. Conversely, correcting the sleep problems will usually result in symptom improvement.
Your doctor may ask you to have a sleep study done to determine whether you have sleep apnea. If you do, using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine when you sleep may be all you need. If you don't have sleep apnea, your doctor may give you a prescription for an antidepressant (which can help improve sleep), or a medication specifically designed as a sleep aid. If you would rather not take prescription drugs, talk to your doctor about taking an herbal supplement like melatonin
, valerian root
. In addition to medications or supplements
, it's important for you to develop good sleep habits. (See "Sleeping Without Pills