No two cases of fibromyalgia are ever the same. One thing most sufferers do have in common, however, is that their pain tends to worsen at night.
Why is fibromyalgia worse at night? This is a question asked by many sufferers from around the world. A good night’s sleep is invaluable. Without rest, we cannot function and would find it extremely difficult to carry out even the simplest of tasks. Try to imagine how your day would be if you did not sleep at all the night before. This is what it is like for those suffering with fibromyalgia.
At the end of the day, many patients will lie in bed, tossing and turning, writhing in pain from tense, aching muscles, while experiencing night sweats. The lack of a good night’s sleep applies an overwhelming pressure to the body as it tries to cope, which in turn increases the body’s sensitivity to pain, creating a vicious cycle.
At this point, sleep is not an option – or an escape.
Drawing conclusions as to why fibromyalgia is worse at night is complex. Research has shown that with fibromyalgia, there is an automatic arousal in the brain during sleep. As the mind becomes clear to focus on resting, it becomes more acutely aware of the pain. When the body is fatigued from activities and challenges of a day, it takes far less to stress the muscles and create more inflammation. Typically, fibromyalgia sufferers cannot relax their muscles. During the day, this is less noticeable and troublesome. At night, however, the situation is very different.
When lying in bed, the muscles stiffen, the aching increases, the mind – which is desperately trying to switch off – is constantly alerted to the pain, which causes the muscles to stiffen and the aching to increase, and so the vicious circle keeps on turning.
Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure for this. However, there are tips and tricks that have been proven to aid in restful sleep for fibromyalgia sufferers, which include:
- Bath: End the day with a soothing, warm bath. Give Epsom salts a try, as they are a well-known muscle relaxant.
- Massage: Gently massage your body with a loofah or soft brush in the bath to unknot stiff and aching limbs. Alternatively, you could roll a tennis or massage ball over tender points to reduce pain.
- Light exercise: Yoga is a great way of stretching the body. If you are considering joining a class, make sure it is for beginners and alert the teacher to your condition.
- Music: Listen to calming music to distract the mind. Tune your bedside radio to Classic FM or invest in a meditation CD.
- Dark: Make sure your room is as dark as possible or consider investing in an eye-mask if necessary.
- Temperature: Keep the temperature in your bedroom moderated, so there is no sudden surge or drop in heat.
- Drink: Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as tea or coffee. Try to stick to water.
As specialist fibromyalgia solicitors, we hope this article has provided you with useful information that may help to reduce the pain you feel at night. If you are experiencing a particularly bad case of sleep deprivation, however, we would advise that you seek professional advice from your doctor or local GP, as we are not medical experts.
If you believe your fibromyalgia has been caused by an accident, trauma or injury that was not your fault, we can help you to claim compensation to cover the damages caused. To find out more, call us for free on 0161 737 9248 or click here to fill in our online contact form.