For the last … I don’t know how many weeks, to be honest, I have had insomnia. This is unusual for me – I’m a good sleeper, I have good sleep hygiene around bedtime, and I usually sleep through the night.
Lately I’ve been waking up between 1am and 3am, unable to return to sleep. I lie in bed where every point of contact aches, from my head resting on the pillow to my heels against the mattress. So I get up, I make myself some kava, and I try to get back to sleep on the couch. Most days I succeed. Some days I don’t.
It’s tiring, and what’s worse is it simply increases the pain I experience. Less rest results in more pain results in less rest results in more pain … you see where I’m going here. It’s a vicious cycle of craptastic proportions.
I know fibromyalgia is a condition that can affect sleep. It disrupts brain waves, particularly during slow wave sleep, which is the deepest sleep. Due to this, fibromyalgia patients will often feel unrested, despite having a full night of sleep.
On one hand, I absolutely experience that. I use a sleep tracker and an apple watch to monitor my sleep patterns and heart rate, and I can confirm that I slam straight down into deep sleep for about an hour, and then dive up and down like a yoyo until I eventually wake up, whether that’s at 1am or 7am.
I take kava in small doses to help with my fibromyalgia pain, and in slightly larger doses at night to help me rest. I’ve also been taking 4mg of melatonin, a supplement I am just about to run a trial without. In theory I should be getting some pretty decent sleep. Like I said before, I have good sleep hygiene around bedtime, I make sure I go to bed early so there’s more time for me to relax and fall asleep naturally, I remove screens, and I have conditioned myself to fall asleep to specific podcasts.
But it’s not the falling asleep that’s the problem, it’s the staying asleep.
I suspect a lot of it is down to my levels of pain, which sort of makes sense but at the same time doesn’t, as fibromyalgia pain typically does not and has not interfered with my sleep historically. I seem to recall reading somewhere that fibromyalgia pain technically ceases during sleep. So it is likely that it is something else waking me and keeping me awake, and the pain is just there.
I’ve booked another appointment with my doctor for next week, and if I’m still struggling with my sleep then, I’ll ask him to sort me out something, or send me off for sleep research.
Still, it’s a puzzle, and it’s frustrating. I’m constantly tired but wired, having to take naps during the day to get through. I avoid having naps in the afternoons now just to try and help me get to sleep, but if I don’t get a nap in the morning I really struggle to get through the day. And it’s not the naps, as I’ve been known to have a 3 hour nap in the morning, another in the afternoon, and then sleep solidly from 9pm to 7am the next morning for months on end.
Blegh. Has anyone else experienced similar insomnia with fibromyalgia? Did you ever get answers? I’d love to hear from you.