Hooked Up for a Good Night’s Sleep

Many people with fibromyalgia also have irregular sleep patterns or sleep disorders. Whether it’s insomnia or idiopathic hypersomnia (trouble staying awake), the combination of pain and sleep disturbance is a vicious cycle: the pain makes sleep more difficult and sleep deprivation causes pain.

Addressing one’s sleep disturbance is essential to improving pain symptoms and overall health.

It is important to identify the cause, triggers, and type of the sleep disturbances, and then find a sleep professional who can help in treating the problem.

Pain - Sleep Disturbance CycleOne fibromyalgia patient, Margaret, had extreme tiredness and constant fatigue throughout the day.

“I’m a teacher, and one summer I really noticed there was something wrong. I was stress-free and relaxed, not having to work. I was getting eight, nine, ten hours of sleep a night, and had a consistent sleep pattern; but I was always falling asleep during the day, sometimes without even realizing it! Normally I can read for hours, but I couldn’t even stay awake to read. That made me recognize something still wasn’t right,” she reported.

Margaret kept a sleep log for two weeks, documenting her sleep habits and patterns. She then completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which serves as a tool to measure a person’s sleep-wake health status. As her daytime sleepiness continued, she decided to participate in an overnight sleep study that involved a Multiple Sleep Latency Test. This study, also known as a daytime nap study, measures how quickly one falls asleep in a quiet environment during the day. It is the standard tool used to diagnose narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia by monitoring functions such as heart rate, brain waves, and rapid eye movement.

“I have to admit I was a little nervous the first time I went for a sleep study. I had never gone through one before, and didn’t know what to expect. But the staff made me feel comfortable right away,” said Margaret. “Someone had called me and explained what to bring (pajamas, toiletries, work or a book for the times I was supposed to stay awake), and the staff explained everything they did, all the hookups and procedures.”

The study gave Margaret’s doctor the information she needed to diagnose her problem: idiopathic hypersomnia (idiopathic meaning the cause is unknown). For her, doctors weren’t sure if it was related to her fibromyalgia, since a lot of people with fibro have insomnia; but her condition was the direct opposite in that she had difficulty staying awake.

Idiopathic hypersomnia is treated the exact same as narcolepsy—with both a stimulant and behavioral modifications such as a consistent sleep pattern and at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
woman sleeping on Bed

“The first stimulant I tried worked great—for a while. But after about six months it just stopped working. I went back to falling asleep while driving to work, and thought, ‘Something’s not right here again.’ Back to the doctor. My neurologist switched me to a different stimulant that’s been working extremely well. We had to experiment with the right amount of milligrams, but now the dosage is adequate. I still struggle daily to wake up in the mornings, but the medication keeps me awake when I need to be. In other words, my sleep-wake cycle is more ‘normal.’”

Although such sleep issues may be chronic, it can improve and be managed with the right medication, adjusted lifestyle changes, coping mechanisms, and the right medical team.

If you suffer from sleep disturbance, don’t be afraid to give a sleep study a try.

It can answer your questions by identifying a specific sleep disorder that is treatable. Consequently, once you achieve normal sleep patterns, you will feel much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Hooked Up for a Good Night’s Sleep

Many people with fibromyalgia also have irregular sleep patterns or sleep disorders. Whether it’s insomnia or idiopathic hypersomnia (trouble staying awake), the combination of pain and sleep disturbance is a vicious cycle: the pain makes sleep more difficult and sleep deprivation causes pain.
Pain - Sleep Disturbance Cycle

Addressing one’s sleep disturbance is essential to improving pain symptoms and overall health.

It is important to identify the cause, triggers, and type of the sleep disturbances, and then find a sleep professional who can help in treating the problem.

One fibromyalgia patient, Margaret, had extreme tiredness and constant fatigue throughout the day.

“I’m a teacher, and one summer I really noticed there was something wrong. I was stress-free and relaxed, not having to work. I was getting eight, nine, ten hours of sleep a night, and had a consistent sleep pattern; but I was always falling asleep during the day, sometimes without even realizing it! Normally I can read for hours, but I couldn’t even stay awake to read. That made me recognize something still wasn’t right,” she reported.

Margaret kept a sleep log for two weeks, documenting her sleep habits and patterns. She then completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which serves as a tool to measure a person’s sleep-wake health status. As her daytime sleepiness continued, she decided to participate in an overnight sleep study that involved a Multiple Sleep Latency Test. This study, also known as a daytime nap study, measures how quickly one falls asleep in a quiet environment during the day. It is the standard tool used to diagnose narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia by monitoring functions such as heart rate, brain waves, and rapid eye movement.

“I have to admit I was a little nervous the first time I went for a sleep study. I had never gone through one before, and didn’t know what to expect. But the staff made me feel comfortable right away,” said Margaret. “Someone had called me and explained what to bring (pajamas, toiletries, work or a book for the times I was supposed to stay awake), and the staff explained everything they did, all the hookups and procedures.”

The study gave Margaret’s doctor the information she needed to diagnose her problem: idiopathic hypersomnia (idiopathic meaning the cause is unknown). For her, doctors weren’t sure if it was related to her fibromyalgia, since a lot of people with fibro have insomnia; but her condition was the direct opposite in that she had difficulty staying awake.

Idiopathic hypersomnia is treated the exact same as narcolepsy—with both a stimulant and behavioral modifications such as a consistent sleep pattern and at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
woman sleeping on Bed

“The first stimulant I tried worked great—for a while. But after about six months it just stopped working. I went back to falling asleep while driving to work, and thought, ‘Something’s not right here again.’ Back to the doctor. My neurologist switched me to a different stimulant that’s been working extremely well. We had to experiment with the right amount of milligrams, but now the dosage is adequate. I still struggle daily to wake up in the mornings, but the medication keeps me awake when I need to be. In other words, my sleep-wake cycle is more ‘normal.’”

Although such sleep issues may be chronic, it can improve and be managed with the right medication, adjusted lifestyle changes, coping mechanisms, and the right medical team.

If you suffer from sleep disturbance, don’t be afraid to give a sleep study a try.

It can answer your questions by identifying a specific sleep disorder that is treatable. Consequently, once you achieve normal sleep patterns, you will feel much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.

2017-11-28T10:53:18-08:00Tuesday, April 28, 2015|Community Support Center, Patient Support|