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To Sleep or Not to Sleep? - That is the question!

Updated on January 22, 2011

TO SLEEP OR NOT TO SLEEP?  That is the question!

For most fibromyalgia patients sleep is elusive.As a matter of fact I think it hides from me, except at the most inconvenient times. No kidding, Sleep is constantly eluding me. Or it was.

Today I sleep much better than I ever have, except my body clock is all messed up.  It’s a good thing that I am not employed outside the home. <giggle>

Often I sleep until 11:00am to 2:00pm.  But of course I don’t go to sleep until 3:00 or 4:00am.  My body now knows it needs 9 hours of sleep.  So when I lay down I count the time in my head so I know what time I will awaken.

When I was employed outside the home, I would go to bed as early as I could and never knew until the next  morning what my day would be like: painful or pleasant. Working was very hard toward the later years at my profession.

Deep sleep is what they call REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.  That is the time when your body awakens with out your knowledge and goes to work repairing what needs repairing.  I used to tell my kids that if they slept real long, an army of good soldiers would make them well. It’s kind of like that. 

I’m sure that’s not how the doctors would describe it. However, I am not a doctor - so there! 

It has taken me decades to train my body to sleep deep. And to this day, I still can not count on it.  However - I do have some tips that might make your sleepless nights more comfortable; as well as some tips to actually improve your sleep.

First try to have a set time when you absolutely will make yourself go to bed.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  You must take notes! Try over a course of four or five days to find out what time you get the most tired, and when you know you could sleep if you had a pillow. Do this until you see some consistency in your own pattern. 

 That should be the time when you try to set a bedtime. (Mine is 2:00am). 

There is no die hard set time to go to bed. Just be consistent.

I started out by setting my alarm (yes, an alarm to go to bed, not to get up!)  Ideally I wanted to go to bed at 11:00pm and awaken nine hours later. 

But my body clock did not like that at all.  Everyone has a different body clock. It is important to listen to that clock.  Adjust your schedule accordingly.

Now you ask me, “Why should I expect to adhere to a normal sleep pattern when nothing else about me is normal?”  Good question.  The answer for you would be: you adhere to a “normal for you” sleep pattern.  You have to develop it.

Be confident in what you do.  Nothing is perfect and nothing works the first time you try it.  Learn your body and be consistent.

Sleep studies show that if we piece meal our sleep we are gaining no benefit at all for our bodies.  As Fibromites, we need all the help we can get for our bodies.  Sleep is the number one thing to conquer.  Once you have that down to a reasonable standard for you - you can move on to concentrating on other things.

Oh yes, if you take sleep aids - please do not do what I did; do not take them in the morning.  I put my pill box together wrong, so I slept most of my day away.  Yes, I got nine hours good sleep, but I’m back to square one almost in setting my pattern for myself.  However it will be much easier this time around.

Things like this are common to most Fibromites.  And it’s okay.  It will take a very long time to adjust. Be kind to yourself.

Once you start your water therapy (warm water only) you will find that you sleep better.  Once you sleep better you will have more energy. Pace yourself.  Always pace yourself. And always try to be consistent. (Have I said that before? Hmm)

Don’t run your life according to the way others tell you you should, but the way you feel is best for you.  You learn that through trial and error.  If you know something does not work for you - don’t do it.

 Our family and friends love us dearly and their advice is well intentioned, but they do not live in our bodies.  They do not feel our pain, nor do they feel our disappointment when something does not work out for us.

Back to the subject at hand - Sleep!

Try reading something light before you go to bed or just sitting and being quiet, trying to quiet your thoughts.

When you find yourself wanting to count sheep, repeat to yourself  “sleep,sleep,sleep…etc.” until you drift off.  I personally use this often.

 You see, the last words your mind hears are the words it will act upon. Ever say to yourself “Don’t forget?” And what do you invariably do - you forget.

Well, these are just a few ideas for healthy sleep for the fibromyalgia patient.

Here are some websites to check out.  Happy Zzzzzzs to you!


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