Fibromyalgia, Insomnia, and Sleep

Last updated: November 2022

I feel like this is a never-ending cycle when managing my sleep apnea, insomnia, and fibromyalgia.

Managing fibromyalgia, insomnia, and pain

I slept horribly yesterday. On a good night, my average events per hour are less than 1. But when I checked my myAir app, it was an average of 4 per hour. I slept under 7 hours according to the app which doesn’t take into account my 45-minute ramp time or the tossing and turning while the machine is on but I’m very much still awake.

The sleepless cycle begins

I was hoping that tonight would be better. I didn’t nap, I stayed away from caffeine after 5 PM, and I took my normal natural sleep supplement, but it’s now 4:44 AM and I’m still awake – mix of pain, anxiety, and my brain not turning off. It seems like something works for a while to help with sleep and then a few months later my body gets used to it, and it no longer works.

I get out of bed

When dealing with insomnia, one thing that I have stopped doing is continuing to just lie in bed when I can’t fall asleep. I keep my ramp on for 45 minutes and if I’m not asleep, the air continues to blow heavily. I turn the CPAP machine off and then let it go through the ramp process again. If I’m not sleeping after those 2 ramps, I get out of bed.

My doctor has said the light from phones and TV can stimulate your brain and keep you awake, so I stay away from those. I get up, take a walk downstairs, find a book, and sit on the couch. Sometimes this is effective and after a few chapters, I can go back to bed and fall asleep.

Sometimes I take medication

My sleep doctor has prescribed a low dose of anxiety medication to use when I can’t fall asleep within 45 minutes to an hour. I can take 1 and then hopefully be able to go sleep afterward. I would say 1 or 2 out of every 5 times I take it, it actually works and I can sleep.

More pain makes it harder to sleep

Even with the best intentions of going to sleep, having insomnia prevents me from sleeping some nights. When I don’t sleep for 24 hours or more, it sends me into a flare-up with fibromyalgia and the increased pain makes it hard to sleep.

It’s funny, because my sleep doctor said that the way to control pain is with better sleep; however, no matter what I try, there are nights I just can’t sleep. I think the idea of fixing the pain with sleep has made it a love/hate relationship with an already difficult process.

Giving myself grace

The most important thing for me is to not feel guilty that I can’t sleep. This causes me pain. I try my hardest to get back into a regular routine after I’ve had a long period when I can’t sleep. I go back to taking my regular supplements, limiting or totally eliminating caffeine, and turning electronics off an hour before bedtime with the exception of starting my white noise or sleep meditations. Some things are out of our control with insomnia and we have to appreciate that we are doing the best we can.

Managing sleep apnea with fibromyalgia, insomnia, and pain is a challenge. How do you manage multiple conditions when sleeping? Share in the comments below!

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