WebMD offers a possible reason for what seems to be a rarity: “Research shows that with fibromyalgia, there is an automatic excitement in the brain during sleep. Frequent interruptions impede important restoration processes that occur. Growth hormone occurs mainly during sleep. Without a restful sleep and increased growth hormone, muscles cannot heal and neurotransmitters (such as chemical mood serotonin) are not replenished. The lack of a night’s sleep makes people with fibromyalgia wake up feeling tired and fatigued. The result: the body can not recover from the tensions of the day – all of which overwhelms the system, creating a great sensitivity to pain. “This sounds like a very vicious cycle.
Some speculate that at the end of the day our minds are beginning to disappear when we focus on rest, which makes us more aware of our pain of fibromyalgia. However, conventional wisdom dictates that by the end of the day, our minds have been inundated with information collected by our senses and processed in our brains and bodies. In fact, that is why we have to sleep at night so that we can process everything we have absorbed and refresh our bodies. Therefore, this flood makes us less clear at night. Compare it with the clarity you have when you wake up every day. What seems to be a much more reasonable conclusion is that the organism itself becomes fatigued only from the activities of the day. Therefore, in the evening, it takes much less time to stress the muscles and create more inflammation. In fact, while it may seem an exaggeration, the muscles of patients with fibromyalgia could be slightly compared to the rigor mortis in which the muscles always contract. Since fibro patients usually cannot relax their muscles.
Given that patients with fibromyalgia almost universally struggle with good and restful sleep, WebMD goes on to offer advice to facilitate better sleep, specifically for fibro patients:
- Take a relaxing, warm bath at night (as long as you have the energy to get in the bathtub).
- Bruch your body with a sponge or long-handled brush in the bathroom (your ability to do this can vary from day to day given your level of pain).
- Ease painful points with a self-massage device, such as a tennis ball.
- Practice yoga or other stretching exercises to relax (Amazon offers several DVD yoga options specifically for fibromyalgia).
- Listen to relaxing music (Pandora has a station called “Calm and Meditation Radio”, which sounds the same as what you hear in a spa during a message).
- Meditate to calm intrusive thoughts and tension.
- Sleep in a dark room (consider a mask for the eyes if necessary).
- Keep the room as quiet as possible (or use a white noise machine or a fan to drown the subtle sounds).
- Make sure that the ambient temperature is comfortable.
- Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine, including teas, sodas, and chocolate.
It seems that there may be a variety of reasons for the pain of fibromyalgia to increase the night, but they all point to the muscles as the key player. Again, try a diary that keeps up with basic food activities and for a month or so and sees if you find any common issues or triggers. Also try the list of tips here, knowing that there are not going to be days in just one of the tips is an impossible task. Just do what you can and share your results with the rest of us!