Getting a good night’s sleep actually starts in the morning. “It is essential to either be exposed to natural sunlight or a light box, such as [the] goLite, for the first hour of waking up to be able to maintain a good circadian rhythm,” said Catherine Chua, behavorial sleep medicine specialists at Mt. Sinai Integrative Sleep Center in New York City. Going for a short walk or doing some light exercise in the morning can help stabilize the circadian rhythm, too. (Yes, I know it’s hard to exercise with fibro!)
Keep a consistent sleep schedule. “It’s critical for fibro patients to keep regular bedtime hours,” Doghramji said. “By regular, I’m emphasizing more the time they get up in the morning [and] not so much the time they go to bed at night. The time one gets up in the morning is a strong determiner of one’s next 24-hour circadian rhythm, including the time the person is likely to fall asleep the next night, so regularity is of critical importance. That applies to weekends and weekdays and vacations as well.”
Consider getting a sleep study. “If you have frequent interruptions in your sleep, daytime drowsiness, unusual movements during sleep, snoring or breathing pauses, and/or difficulty falling/staying asleep that you believe are not due solely to your fibromyalgia, you should discuss these symptoms with your primary-care physician or sleep specialist,” said Dr. Clete Kushida, medical director of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center in Stanford, California. Sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder are all common comorbidities in fibromyalgia patients. The diagnosis and treatment of these disorders can improve sleep.