Sleep problems are common with fibromyalgia. Addressing them is an important part of any treatment plan.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue and sleep problems, as well as issues with memory and mood.

People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disrupted by pain, and many people with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.

Some medications that help reduce the pain of fibromyalgia may also improve sleep and fatigue. For example, duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella) and pregabalin (Lyrica) may help ease the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. Your doctor may also prescribe amitriptyline, fluoxetine (Prozac) or cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) to help promote sleep.

In addition to taking the medications prescribed for you, it's important to practice good sleep habits:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Try to get to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day — even on weekends and vacations.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol. Avoid these in the late afternoon and evening. If consumed too close to bedtime, the caffeine in coffee, soft drinks and some medications can keep you from sleeping or sleeping soundly. Even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy, drinking it around bedtime can disturb sleep.
  • Time your exercise. Regular daytime exercise can improve nighttime sleep. But avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime, which actually can be stimulating, keeping you awake.
  • Avoid daytime naps. Sleeping in the afternoon can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you feel you can't get by without a nap, set an alarm for one hour. When it goes off, get up and start moving.
  • Reserve your bedroom for sleeping. Watching TV, reading or working on your laptop in bed can stimulate you, making it harder to sleep. Also, make sure to keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
Apr. 28, 2014