Fibromyalgia Sleep Disturbances
A large percentage of fibromyalgia patients suffer from unrefreshing or disturbed sleep. You may have difficulty falling asleep or you may wake up several times during the night. Or perhaps you feel completely exhausted even though you’ve gotten eight full hours of sleep. These sleep disorders can contribute to the pain of fibromyalgia, increasing muscle stiffness, exacerbating fatigue, and heightening depression. But sleep disorders may not just be a symptom of fibromyalgia – instead, they may actually be the cause of the syndrome.
What are Sleep Disorders?
Any type of sleep abnormality can be referred to as a sleep disorder. Every time you fall asleep, your body goes through specific changes. You actually progress through distinct stages of sleep, which are characterized by various changes in body movement and brainwaves. Every night, your body cycles through different sleep stages according to a specific pattern. People with sleep disorders experience difficulties in completing these sleep patterns.
Deep sleep is one of the most important stages of your sleeping cycle. Classified as Stage Four of the sleep cycle, it is during deep sleep that your muscles are repaired, your tissue is grown, and your energy is replenished. Without proper deep sleep, you would not be able to function at normal capacity.
Fibromyalgia patients appear to undergo less deep sleep than healthy men and women. As a result, they suffer from a variety of symptoms including:
- increased muscle pain
- mood disorders, like depression
This lack of deep sleep may be what is behind the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, and could perhaps be responsible for causing the disorder in the first place.
During deep sleep, a hormone known as somatomedin-C is released by your body. Somatomedin-C is responsible for ensuring proper nerve and muscle health. 90% of somatomedin-C is released during Stage Four deep sleep. Because fibromyalgia patients do not get enough deep sleep, they have much lower levels of somatomedin-C. This could explain the extreme muscle and nerve pain that fibromyalgia patients suffer from.
Insulin Growth Factor(IGF)
Insulin growth factor (IGF) also appears to play a role in causing fibromyalgia symptoms. Insulin growth factor is a hormone involved in the release of growth hormone. Released during deep sleep, fibromyalgia patients have much less insulin growth factor in their blood streams. As a result, these sufferers also have reduced growth hormone levels, which may be contributing to their pain symptoms.
Controlling Sleep Disorders
Recent studies have shown that the key to managing fibromyalgia pain is in controlling sleep disorders and restoring natural sleep patterns. This helps to increase energy and restore muscle and nerve health. Studies have indicated that the most beneficial ways of treating sleep disorders are:
- a regular exercise routine
- sleep medications