Fibromyalgia sufferers inevitably find that a sleeping disorder of some kind is one of their major symptoms. It is a well documented fact that most people with fibromyalgia experience unrefreshing sleep (non-restorative). It is one of the most frequently noted complaints. No matter how much sleep one is able to get, it just never seems enough. More often than not, having more than one sleeping disorder is pretty common for fibromyalgia patients. Sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, bruxism (grinding teeth), and of course, insomnia.
Diagnosed in 2006 with severe obstructive sleep apnea (114 apneas an hour is severe), I was prescribed with a CPAP machine. This was the first time I was diagnosed with any sleeping disorder, but I knew I had sleep issues long before that. In fact, it seemed to me that for as long as I could remember, I couldn't seem to get enough sleep. I loved to sleep as a kid. I recall being able to sleep pretty much anywhere, any time.
As I got older, that wasn't the case at all. In my teens, the slightest noise would wake me up. I'd be in a rage if I couldn't get enough sleep. I had pet budgies that often spent the night in the bathroom (still in their cage of course) because they wouldn't stop chirping soon enough when I turned the lights out. There began my burning need to have 8 hours of sleep a night, "or else".
As an adult, it has gotten a whole lot worse. I never felt refreshed from sleep. While I was still able to work, I had to have a bottle of caffeine pills in my purse because my fatigue was just getting that bad. I had to resort to using them at work just to be able to last my 8 hour shift. Eventually, I also started having insomnia.
In the last 6 years or so, it was daily migraines and muscle pain that contributed to the sleep disorders. I didn't know about fibromyalgia, hadn't even heard of it. I started taking OTC Tylenol with codeine every night to get to sleep. It helped my pain enough to get me to sleep. I still often woke up unrefreshed, despite 100% compliance with my CPAP machine. While I knew I had lousy sleep issues, it never occurred to me that I had sleep disorders. Consequently, I never even asked my doctor about not feeling refreshed from sleep. It wasn't until after going for a sleep study (because the hubby complained about my snoring!) that I found out about my sleep apnea problem. Now I "only" sound like Darth Vader while I sleep. That darned sleep apnea machine is kinda loud (but apparently better than the snoring sounds).
Now I've got a right royal nightmare of sleep disorders. I'm not sure about bruxism, but the other 3 mentioned common fibromyalgia sleep disorders are sure present in my daily life. I have also suffered narcolepsy in my past. Interestingly, I also had severe social phobia and even agoraphobia for a few years at the same time I had the narcolepsy issues. I now know that I have circadian sleep disorder. I just sleep better during the day and function better during the night. Yup, I live like a vampire!
Recently, I've also experienced more frequent sleep paralysis episodes. Not always with the terrifying visions (hallucinations) most people describe. Sometimes, but not always, I have a terrible fear that usually goes with sleep paralysis. Though I sure have a long history of those annoying sudden body jerks when trying to get to sleep. More often than not though, I just slowly become aware that I'm mostly awake (lol onl feeling "mostly awake" is the bane of my existence) and totally unable to move. I sometimes feel dreamy, as if I'm floating. It's not an entirely unpleasant feeling. Sometimes I go back to sleep, sometimes not. I am not sure if having sleep paralysis is just another part of fibromyalgia, or not.
In addition to all of the above, I seem to have developed a truly odd sleeping cycle. I can go days of fairly good focus and not as much fatigue. I sleep fairly well, at least 6 hours straight. Then the sleep durations get less. Sometimes it gets so bad that I'm only able to stay asleep OR awake for a few hours at a time. This always follows with many days of not being able to stay awake at all beyond the necessary bathroom and food breaks between the bouts of unconsciousness. Or the opposite happens, but this is nearly always due to pain. Most Fibromites call this "Painsomnia".
Yes, I practice good sleep hygiene. I have tried many, many times to regulate my sleep hours. Including various prescriptions to help with better sleep as well. Inevitably, I am back to sleeping during the day and being awake at night. It's just the way it is.
Some doctors suggest that fibromyalgia is brought on by having sleep disorders. Others claim that the sleep disorders are just one of the many symptoms of fibromyalgia. Who knows? No one knows (yet) what causes fibromyalgia. Though there have been a lot of recent promising studies.
What do I know? Well, like so many others, I know that my fatigue is often completely debilitating. Most days I'm in bed and can only manage a few hours of what I call "focus time". The rest of the time, I feel pretty darned #confuseless.
Do you have any of these sleep disorders? If you do, how much of an impact do they have on your daily activities?