The Connection Between Fibromyalgia and Sleep
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome distinguished by widespread musculoskeletal pain in the muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. While not considered to be a true form of arthritis, it is a type of rheumatism of the soft tissues and muscles. It is a fairly common condition, affecting about 5 million people in the United States, although the cause of Fibromyalgia remains a mystery. Over 75% of those who have FMS are women between the ages of thirty-five to sixty, however it can affect anyone at any age, but in pre-adolescent children, the condition strikes boys and girls equally as often
Over 90% of FMS sufferers experience significant sleep disturbances. Specifically, stage four sleep, the deepest, most restorative level of sleep, is deficient. This is when muscles and other parts of the body typically have an opportunity to regenerate for the next day. Medical experts agree that muscle pain occurs in Fibromyalgia patients because the muscles are deprived of the rejuvenation process that would otherwise occur during sleep. Sleep problems among FMS patients vary. While some may have trouble falling asleep, others awaken numerous times during the night, tossing and turning, and may be unable to fall back to sleep at all. Still others wake up far earlier than what would be considered normal.
It should be no surprise then, that fatigue during the day is also an issue for FMS sufferers. The ability to function normally and in a productive fashion is greatly diminished in a number of FMS patients. Often times, a person with FMS is exhausted at the end of the day, and in desperate need of a good nights sleep, but is robbed of that night after night because of the syndrome.