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Ask the Doctor: I wake up each morning feeling tired, even though I’ve slept. Would sleeping pills help me get better sleep?

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Q: I wake up each morning feeling tired, even though I’ve slept. Would a sleep study be useful? Would sleeping pills help me get better sleep?
 
A: Unrefreshing sleep is a defining characteristic of ME, CFS, and FM, so feeling “refreshed” or energetic might not be realistic. A more achievable goal is to seek the most restorative sleep possible, which may require excluding primary sleep disorders and other disrupters of sleep. 

Sleeping pills do not guarantee better quality sleep or resolution of ME/CFS and FM symptoms. On the other hand, sleep disruption and insufficient sleep invariably worsen fatigue, pain, brain fog and stamina. I advise careful assessment of each person’s sleep disruption in a very practical way, followed by a behavioral approach (good sleep hygiene) and intelligent use of medications – directed at a specific cause of sleep disruption if possible – in the lowest possible doses.

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