Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Are you sleeping at night?

I asked this question almost a year and a half ago and the resounding reply was "absolutely not!"  The first priority for someone with fibromyalgia is to get a good night's sleep, but for many this is a lofty goal that remains out of reach.  I know the despair of energy depletion and amplified pain, irritability, and the difficulty of coping with the numerous fibromyalgia symptoms due to unrestorative sleep.  Well, after not having slept for almost 22 years I am finally getting a good night's sleep and I feel so much better.  My CPAP machine is a miracle for me and I am actually getting a good night's sleep every night.  Amazing.  All it took to get a good night's sleep was an astute Pulmonologist that listened to me and believed in me.  Many times people with fibromyalgia don't find a doctor that will really listen and trust that the patient is telling the truth.  If that is you, don't give up.  If you have a doctor that won't listen to you, get a different doctor.  Many doctors tend to treat the symptom and not the real problem, such as prescribing Ritalin in an attempt to increase energy.  But the lack of energy is not the real problem; it is a symptom of unrestorative sleep.

I want to reiterate that 80% of fibromyalgia patients have sleep apnea.  If you aren't sleeping, go see a sleep specialist.  A sleep study may not demonstrate a sleep problem if you don't sleep well during the study.  I believe that's what happened to me during my first sleep study.  If you had a sleep study that didn't demonstrate a sleep problem, but if you aren't sleeping, go see a different sleep specialist.  The doctor that diagnosed me with sleep apnea is a Pulmonologist with specialties in sleep disorders, critical care and internal medicine.

I still have fibromyalgia and Willis-Ekbom Disease (rls), but normalizing my circadian rhythm has done wonders for my quality of life.  And if you don't have quality of life, what else is there?
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