We’ve all been there before – right? You get what you think was a full night’s rest – but when the alarm clock rings you feel exhausted – like you’ve just taken a sleeping pill. For many of us with fibromyalgia, this is a cruel reality of our condition.
A recent study is shedding new light on the sleep problems associated with fibromyalgia. The study, published in the Clinical Journal of Pain, compared fibromyalgia patients to both a people with no sleep problems as well as patients suffering from primary insomnia.
As expected – fibromyalgia sufferers’ results were easily distinguishable from people without any kind of sleep disturbance. Somewhat surprisingly, though, researchers discovered that the sleep patterns of fibromyalgia patients also differed from those within the primary insomnia group.
Patients in the fibromyalgia group and primary insomnia group were similar in some areas. For example, both had shorter sleep bout durations than the control group. They also had decreased total sleep time and slow wave sleep, as well as increased latency to persistent sleep (LPS) and wake time after sleep onset (WASO).
The groups differed, however, in the frequency of wake and sleep bouts. Fibromyalgia patients experienced more frequent wake bouts than those with primary insomnia. In other words, fibromyalgia patients are having a more difficult time with continuous sleep than the insomnia group.
So what does this mean for you? At a minimum it can open up new avenues for treatment as you discuss your sleeping habits with your doctor. It may also pave the way for new, more effective treatments for fibromyalgia related sleep problems, as researchers better understand the underlying problems.