Fibromyalgia is a fatiguing condition. Worse yet, the condition makes you tired but can also rob you of your ability to sleep well in the form of insomnia. Today, we’re exploring the relationship between the two and what we can possibly do to reduce symptoms each and every day.
Fibromyalgia and Spoon Theory
Fibromyalgia doesn’t only create daily tiredness and heaviness. The condition also results in numbness, headaches, and muscle pain. Quite literally, individuals with fibromyalgia are more tired than those without the condition and need more rest to feel capable of tackling daily tasks.
On Fibromyalgia Living Daily, we explored spoon theory in our article on How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Family and Friends. If your daily energy could be measured in spoons, having fibromyalgia would mean that each day, you have fewer spoons than someone without the condition.
Insomnia vs. Fibromyalgia Fatigue
So what can you do about fibromyalgia fatigue? Can simply resting more eliminate fatigue and increase the number of spoons you have? Unfortunately, insomnia can fight against your fatigue and make both symptoms even worse.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that describes the difficulty of staying or falling asleep. This is true even if you have enough time each night to get a great amount of rest.
Many nights, I’ll go to bed knowing that if I don’t get enough sleep, tomorrow will be harder. I’ll have increased brain fog, increased body pain, and decreased functional ability. Yet my insomnia keeps me up at night anyway!
And I’m not alone here. Insomnia is so common in people with fibromyalgia that it is used as a sign for fibromyalgia diagnosis. Insomnia also worsens fibromyalgia symptoms, as a lack of sleep can decrease your pain threshold.
Treatment & Exercise for Energy Endurance
So what can we do to fight back against the fibromyalgia and insomnia duo? Some individuals find success in cognitive behavioral therapy that helps address feelings and thoughts contributing to insomnia.
Increasing your energy endurance is something I’ve explored personally to improve my stamina during the day. Most research finds that light exercise is wonderful for reducing fibromyalgia symptoms.
More research needs to be done on aquatic exercise in particular. But some individuals find that water-based exercise can be especially helpful in increasing sleep quality and reducing pain. This is particularly true in individuals with extremely high levels of distress and pain.
Time Blocking, Fibromyalgia, and Sleep
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut solution to improving your sleep, especially with fibromyalgia. Consulting your doctor is the best way to vet an option before trying a new exercise or treatment.
For me, I’ve also found time-blocking during the day to be helpful. By dedicating certain times each day to finish work tasks, rest, and complete low-stress household chores, I feel more in control and am able to better plan out my spoons for the day.
Making a plan can also help me see what is feasible in a day or two, and can help me adjust accordingly moving forward. Read more here on Fibromyalgia Living Daily for advice on lessening fibromyalgia symptoms and companionship as we navigate this journey together.