Sleep is elusive for many of us, but it is important not only for our health, but our emotional wellbeing.
Fibromyalgia takes so much from us, including sleep. Being unable to get a good sleep can contribute to fibromyalgia symptoms, which is why it is important we take steps to ensure we sleep better.
Ways we can get better sleep
1. Exercise: Exercising in the morning helps set your body rhythm for the next 24 hours, including letting you get better sleep. It1 doesn’t need to be strenuous. Even gentle walking will do.
2. Lavender: The scent of lavender can help you feel relaxed, which can make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. You can choose from various lavender-scented products before bed, including oils.
3. Meditation: Slowing your breathing with deep breaths, meditation or prayer will go a long way toward relaxing you enough to get to sleep. I always liked reading Psalm 4:8. Spend at least 20-30 minutes in quiet meditation.
4. Hot bath: If you are able to get in and out of a bathtub safely, try a warm or hot bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil. It can not only help you relax but also alleviate some of the pain that keeps FM peeps awake at night.
5. No screens: Don’t use your smartphone or tablet, or watch TV an hour or so before going to bed. They send a message to your brain that it’s time to be awake. Read a real book, do a puzzle, or play solitaire instead.
6. Sleep medication: If you think a sleep medication would help you, discuss it with your medical professional. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
7. Regular wake-up time: It’s more important for you to wake at the same time each morning than for you to go to bed at the same time each night. It’s another piece in the puzzle of regulating your circadian — or body — rhythm. Set a quiet alarm and try not to hit the snooze button.
8. Take a nap: Taking an afternoon nap is beneficial, with a 20-minute snooze being optimal. Think of it as a personal siesta. If you have little ones who nap in the afternoon, snooze at the same time.
Sleep hygiene is also important for those of us battling fibromyalgia. Perhaps combining two or more of the above ideas will help you get better sleep. I know, of course, that with our condition, even if we get amazing sleep, we’re likely to wake up feeling unrefreshed. But a good sleep can make us feel less unrefreshed.