Fibromyalgia: 6 Tips To Make It Through Those Sleepless Nights

Fibromyalgia: 6 Tips To Make It Through Those Sleepless Nights

As a person with both fibromyalgia and major depression, I have had more than my share of sleepless nights. Not sleeping is a hallmark of both and makes them both worse.  Some people can’t go to sleep.  Some people can get to sleep, but can’t stay asleep.

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Lack of sleep affected everything – my work, my relationships, my concentration, my health, my pain level, and especially my children.  I was frazzled and grouchy, could barely drag myself through the day to make it ‘til bedtime – only to wake up again at 2:00 in the morning, mind at full throttle, and not be able to go back to sleep.

My own body’s adrenaline was keeping me awake. When your mind works overtime on the challenges you are facing, your body is flooded with chemicals that tell it that it’s dangerous to go to sleep.

The Best Remedy?  Distract Your Mind!

I have to distract my mind from its rumination about whatever it is, because it sends little signals to my body telling it that it’s urgent to solve this NOW.

insomniaOf course there is nothing I can possibly do NOW…and not sleeping is robbing me of whatever energy I would have to do something tomorrow.  Here are some things that work for me.

You need something that keeps your mind active, to distract it from your worries, but nothing overly stimulating.

Reading.  I am a reader, and I like to revisit books I have read before, to put myself into another world for a while where I know all the rules and no one will disappoint me.  I just hang out with the characters I know and love and release my own challenges.

Music. Any instrumental music you like will help, and earphones are best to distract your mind.  Make sure not to include vocals – they can trigger emotions.

Guided Meditations. Some people like guided meditations for this purpose. They help your body to relax, deepen your breathing, and can bring your brain rhythms to a sleep level.  There are plenty of free guided meditations online.

Writing.  Sometimes I just can’t put “it” away.  In that case to get some sleep, I need to set myself 20 to 30 minutes to write, then put it away and go to sleep knowing I can come back to it in the morning.  The mind is usually calm.

Solitaire. Really.  It seems a few hundred games of solitaire will eventually unhook my mind and let me get (bored and) tired enough to actually sleep.

Melatonin. I prefer not to use  medications to sleep, but if I must, Melatonin is the body’s own sleep regulator. It is a hormone manufactured in the Pineal gland and is available as a supplement over the counter.  It is  non habit-forming and is safe to use both short term and long term.

A note about alcohol. It may seem to help, but it wears off too soon and there you are again.  PLUS, if that says to you, “drink more,” you could be heading for some serious withdrawals during the night, and dependency if you continue.

If sleeplessness is a problem for you, I hope some of these tips help you, and I wish you a long and refreshing night’s sleep, every night from now on.

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Gerry Straatemeier is a freelance writer, life coach and blogger.

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