While the types of sleeping problems vary from person to person, practically all fibromyalgia sufferers can relate to the aches and pains, fatigue, and depression that chronic insomnia and sleep disturbances can cause. Repetitive and ongoing nightmares are common complaints. If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you learn quickly that the sleep difficulties you’ve experienced for years are part of a much larger picture.
For some people with chronic insomnia, even waking up after they finally fall asleep, is an ordeal. Pain, depression and anxiety often accompany waking. And then there’s the fatigue… it feels like you’ve been up all night. I’ve heard it described as “I feel like I’m running relay races in my sleep, even to the point of experiencing shortness of breath when I try to get up!”
Many chronic insomnia sufferers will tell you that they fight sleep as long as possible trying to avoid the dream state… or REM sleep cycle due to the unpleasant nightmares. Night terrors are not uncommon among fibromyalgia sufferers. As a child I experienced Flashing and colored lights, bizarre plaid designs, and kaleidoscopic patterns when I closed my eyes to sleep… but each person’s experiences are different. I remember trying to explain to my parents and doctors what I would see when I closed my eyes. The colors would blend into nightmarish shapes and visions that I couldn’t describe. And no one really understood what I was going through or provided me with a solution. As a result, I developed self-inflicted chronic insomnia… trying not to go to sleep.
As I got older, I either gradually outgrew most of my vision symptoms or learned to control them… I’m really not sure which. I still experience vivid colors in some dreams, but they’re not as strange now. And because vision and focusing problems can be a serious part of fibromyalgia symptoms, you should consult your eye doctor if they persist. Many doctors would probably say that my control has something to do with my state of mind, and my recognition of the vision issues and accompanying chronic insomnia, as symptoms of my illness. But I’ve also been working on another theory…
Since I was about 5 years, old I’ve suffered with symptoms of fibromyalgia. I had an accident that triggered my condition. It has given me a long time to develop coping techniques, and through trial and error, the ability to make some critical changes to my life and… to my nutrition!
If you believe that fibromyalgia symptoms like trigger point pain and fatigue are caused, at least in part, by chronic insomnia and poor sleep quality, you’re not alone. Many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia may result from or be adversely affected by a sufferer’s inability to get adequate rest. That’s why so many fibromyalgia sufferers take sleep inducing medication and end up dealing with the sometimes dangerous side-effects, drug interactions, and potential drug addiction. When one pill doesn’t help anymore, we take two… and so on.
What I learned from my own experience is that healing the body with proper nutrition will help to reduce and even eliminate fibromyalgia symptoms like sleep disturbances and chronic insomnia. When you have less pain and fatigue, you feel better. This in turn, helps you to feel less anxious and stressed… and sleep comes easier. Chronic insomnia in particular may be positively affected by making some simple dietary changes:
- Maintain a healthy weight and avoid foods that are known allergens.
- Go with a heart-smart diet… low sugar, low fat… add fruits, vegetables and whole grain.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages… and don’t forget the protein! Effective nutritional supplements for fibromyalgia sufferers should include an adequate supply of lean, digestible protein to repair and strengthen the body, as well as enzymes to aid with digestion and protein assimilation.
- It’s widely accepted that a diet complete with vitamins, minerals and amino acids… protein’s building blocks which support the muscles, nerves and brain… may help to alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, like the trigger point pain and fatigue… and the chronic insomnia, nightmares and bad or vivid dreams.
For fibromyalgia sufferers with chronic insomnia, nightmares and sleep disturbances, there is hope. You can take control of your symptoms through proper diet, and get the restful sleep and healing that you need. Click on one of the links now for more information.