Sleep Disorders and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia syndrome causes symptoms of extreme pain in the muscles throughout the body. Sometimes the pain associated with the illness can be so intense that sufferers cannot continue with their daily tasks. But fibromyalgia isn’t just associated with pain. Fibromyalgia and sleep disorders also go hand in hand. In fact, it is thought that up to 80% of people with fibromyalgia experience some type of disordered sleep. Often, these sleep disorders leave people feeling tired, drained, and physically incapable of dealing with the stresses associated with fibromyalgia.
Alpha EEG Anomaly
An alarming percentage of fibromyalgia sufferers have a sleep disorder called alpha EEG anomaly. This sleep disorder may actually be a cause of fibromyalgia because so many sufferers have it. Alpha EEG anomaly affects deep sleep, preventing sufferers from getting a good night’s rest.
Alpha EEG anomaly occurs when sudden bursts of brain activity occur during a time when the brain should be in deep sleep. These periods of intense activity are measured as alpha waves on an EEG monitor. People with alpha EEG anomaly do not have difficulty falling asleep, but once they reach deep sleep, their brains begin to act like they are awake. This leaves sufferers feeling tired and drained.
80% of people with fibromyalgia suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder that causes momentary stoppages in breathing. Sleep apnea only occurs when a person is sleeping, but it can affect some people so badly that they actually cause themselves to wake up. Many people who suffer from sleep apnea don’t even know that they have it - usually it is a partner that notices the sufferer waking up.
In apnea, there are gaps in breathing that can last for a few seconds or even as long as a minute. These gaps are often caused by a collapse in the airway due to snoring or being overweight. This is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea. However, there is also a much less common form of sleep apnea that appears to be caused by a defect in the central nervous system.
Referred to as central sleep apnea, this type of apnea is caused by a miscommunication from the brain. For some reason, the brain \"forgets\" to tell the lungs to breathe. People suffering from this type of apnea usually remember waking up.