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Sleeping, Dreaming, and Things That Go Bump In The Night
31 Replies
Canada17 - November 25

We all know that sleep plays an important part in the severity of our symptoms. Research has shown that most people with FMS don't fall into the deep restorative sleep that our bodies need to rest and recharge. This sheds some light on why we experience the amount of pain we do.

I've always been able to fall asleep almost anywhere, anytime. As long as I am comfortable and can slow my breathing, I nod off; I don't get into that deep sleep though. I am awoken easily. I sleep with earplugs and things that go bump in the night still wake me.

I was watching a show on PBS called Nova, tonight's episode was about dreams and sleep. Which is so coincidental because my doctor is sending me for a sleep study. Weird, eh?

They discussed REM sleep and how our brains automatically render our bodies paralyzed as we experience dreams in REM sleep. They did research on animals and shut off that paralysis, and what they found was the animals actually got up and walked around like they were really experiencing something, ie a cat pouncing on a prey it had been stalking.

They couldn't do this research on humans, but they didn't have to. There is a disease called REM Sleep Motor Dysfunction and the people who suffer from it walk around in their sleep acting out their dreams. A guy told a story about how he was in a field full of cows they were closing in on him and his wife tells that he was yelling and making a big fuss in the bed next to her.

I know I don't this dysfunction, perhaps the opposite, I think my brain may get stuck in paralyzed mode. I sometimes dream that I am awake but cannot move, cannot talk or yell, and I can't wake myself up. And then I go back into a dream for a little bit and then the same thing happens. It's a terrible feeling, being trapped in your body.

While our sleep patterns have a lot to do with our FM, are they the cause or merely another symptom of our FM?

I am curious to know about your experiences with dreams and sleep, however odd they may seem. You certainly don't need to give details about your dreams, I know how personalthey can be. : )


axxie - November 25

Funny thing, I have had the same feeling about your mind being awake, but your body is still paralyzed, it's scary. I always tell myself to calm down and it will pass. Damn it's scary.... I don't remember dreams. My husband is usually awake and sees me mumbling or trying to scream out, then I just return to sleeping and wake later.....


Canada17 - November 25

Very interesting. I think I might see if I can find an address for the person who was on that show last night and see if they know anything about this. If two of us have this same feeling and we already know there is a link between our sleep patterns and FM, maybe there is something there...

Thanks axxie!


writerchick - November 25

THANK YOU! Thank you so much for posting this!!! I have had FM for 8 years and have experienced these paralyzing dreams for quite a while. That was scary enough. A few months ago, I started talking and physically acting out my dreams, waking up either sitting up performing an activity or walking away from the bed. I was diagnosed with MS last week, but my neurologist has blown off this "symptom". I looked up REM Sleep Motor Dysfunction and the same behavior can be caused by the lesions from MS.

So now when I wake up, I know what to blame for poor sleep... MS if I get something done, and FM if I stay too still :)


axxie - November 25

The thing is, if I remember correctly there is a corrolation with MS. When I saw my neuro, she told me I was told old to have MS, why because my tests all where negative, but I have the same symptoms.


Canada17 - November 25

Yay!!! Not yay that you're experiencing it but yay that I made a connection!!

Oooo I'm excited about learning more about this connection. I am so glad I recorded the show last night. I'm going to re-watch it and then send some researchers a letter.

The only control I have over my FM is knowledge...I didn't know about the connection with MS but that makes sense.

Thank you guys for responding, if three of us are experiencing the same thing, there has to be more of us out there! I have renewed hope!


Canada17 - November 25

Do you guys have dreams as well during this paralysis? or is it just the knowledge that you feel awake but can't do anything?


writerchick - November 25

Sometimes either one. I have dreams that I'm frozen in place and cannot react to my environment. Sometimes I am pretty sure I'm awake but cannot move or speak. BOTH unnerve me.


Canada17 - November 26

Have you ever felt like someone or something was there with you?


bbass - November 26

I haven't had a paralyzing dream in years, but when I used to have them, I would be awake and feel that someone was just out of my sight, standing by me, in a threatening way. Used to freak me out, then I found out about sleep paralysis. Weird to think it might be fibro related.


Kiwigirl - November 26

I have had dreams where I am being chased by something and I am trying to run away and I can't move, really scary, then I usually wake up panicking.


tnichel - November 27

That used to happen to me a lot before I started meds for fms. It's the worse feeling ever to be awake and not able to move your body. It takes a minute or so before I can move. They say your mind wakes up before your body and that's what causes it.

I know the dreams from all the meds are just crazy. I dreamed they classified a new type of cloud. Yeah, my meteorologist looked at me like I was insane when I asked about it the next day. "Oops, guess I dreamed that one." They are so realistic it's crazy but I rarely remember dreams.

I'm not a sleep walker but maybe I'm becoming one. I woke up with some wicked indigestion this morning. I think I spent 20-minutes pacing the floor in front of my bed while still sleep...ate a few tums to. I didn't come back to me until this evening and even clearer after seeing this post. I don't remember gettng back in the bed. Crazy and kind of scary if you don't normally sleepwalk. I assumed it had something to do with the multiple meds I take at night that all cause drowsiness.


Canada17 - November 27

I've been doing a lot of research on this because I feel there is a strong connection between recurrent sleep paralysis and FM.

Melatonin seems to be a link.

While FM patients don't necessarily have lower melatonin levels, studies have shown that we benefit from melatonin supplements. Again, they don't know why.

Melatonin is a key factor in REM sleep, and sleep paralysis occurs when the melatonin levels don't start to rise again and the neuro inhibitors continue to shut off signals to our body - causing the paralysis. But our brains are out of the REM sleep stage and we are technically awake, but our bodies are not. This is a very layman's was of describing it - I think, maybe I have it wrong. I'm no neurologist.

I'll keep searching for information. : )


Happybez - November 30

Hi all!

Can any one confirm if night terrors is something that is associated with FM? When I do have a good night sleep (once or twice a month) then I have night terrors. The terrors are more terrifying for my husband than for me. I usually don't remember them. All I know is that I slept well.:)

Any Ideas?


Canada17 - November 30

Often night terrors are associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I found the following at

is important to talk about things if you are stressed whether it be a stress at work or a problem at home; indeed those individuals who suffer from chronic illnesses such as Fibromyalgia often find that they suffer from high levels of stress more often than not because they are unable to function in the normal way and carry out day to day tasks without becoming sore or tired."

I hope that helps. : )


white chocolate - January 17

Yesterday evening I was so extremely sleepy it felt like I'd been drugged so I went to bed early & fell into a deep sleep only to be woken after a couple of hours by my partner snoring! I was in a lot of pain generally so I went & make a drink,took some pain killers and gathered up a heat pad. I was now wide awake so read for a while then went & layed on the bed in the spare room, ipod in ears & tried to sleep. I could feel myself drifting, very relaxed but couldn't get off to sleep. Then I was aware that I was dreaming but still I knew I was awake,yet drifting in & out of a dream. When I did fall asleep I could feel awful burning/aching in my legs & I was telling myself that this feeling was so painful - that was the reason I could feel it in my sleep. Then I was awake & trying to move my legs but they were so heavy I couldn't lift them. I was then aware that when I tried to move my arms & the rest of my body ,it was totally paralyzed. I have had this sleep paralysis? at other times & I think it's been when I've had really high pain. It's very scary. Also I suffer from night terrors frequently. It's not unknown for me to have them several times a night & even several nights a week. I know if I get too hot in bed during my sleep it will make me call out for help..and 'Help' is exactly what I do call out. .My partner is so good now at waking just as a terror begins he usually can cuddle into me, hold me, to bring me out of it. They are horrible & nearly always as I wake, I'm sobbing.
I know what's behind the night terrors but don't know why they should happen night after night or why they happen so frequently. Obviously some things that on in our memory pop up in the mind when we sleep..but why?
As for the sleep paralysis..Is that due to the fibro or do 'Normals' suffer with it too?


Canada17 - January 17

What you described does sound like sleep paralysis. It was likely caused by your medication...when you said "make a drink" did you mean an alcoholic one? Because alcohol on its own can trigger a sleep paralysis episode in people who have them. Mixing alcohol with medication can definitely cause it as well as other problems. It isn't a good idea.

In addition, people with FM appear to process what we intake differently. Our liver functions, though clinically healthy, are different than those who don't have FM. If we keep our liver clean then so to our kidneys and thus our gut. This means less problems with digestion, GERD, IBS, and other similar conditions. So alcohol can be a trigger for part of our pain and associated symptoms.

Generally speaking, most people suffer at least one episode of sleep paralysis in their lifetime; though it usually occurs in pre-teens to early adults. Probably something to do with the hormones.

For me, I will have an episode if I lay on my back with my spine straight. The way we're "supposed" to sleep. If I fall asleep that way, I'm doomed.

Sleep paralysis is terrifying, there is no doubt about that. I asked my doctor about a link between sleep paralysis and FMS. She didn't think it's caused the same way as is in people with MS but she couldn't rule out a connection either.

Night terrors are actually normal. By all means, their experience and the way they leave you feeling when you wake from them is unpleasant. However, night terrors are a way of our brains working out problems in our mind. Researchers believe it is a way to prepare us for daily life.

If you are suffering from night terrors on a regular basis I would recommend talking to a counselor about the issues that you think are causing them. Working through them constructively with someone who is trained to do so may very well help you deal with them and mitigate if not eliminate your night terrors.

I wish you pleasant, peaceful dreams. : )



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