This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

A recent study published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that behavioral therapy for insomnia coupled with pain medication improves the sleep of ailing patients. This is good news for people struggling with Fibromyalgia which is a medical syndrome that causes widespread pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints as well as sleep problems and chronic daytime fatigue.

Carla R. Jungquist, F.N.P., Ph.D., of the Medical Center’s Sleep and Neurophysiology Research Laboratory, who is the lead author of the Sleep Medicine article, is excited by the results of the study because it means the therapy can be delivered by advance practice nurses. She added “training nurses in the delivery of this type of therapy will result in better access for patients. Currently, access to this therapy is limited as there are few trained therapists and most are psychologists.” Jungquist explained. “We focus on a patient’s negative thoughts about sleep and address unhealthy sleep behavior. We address habits, including use of caffeine or alcohol. We tell people to do nothing in bed except sleep or sex.”

If you are recovering or coping with an illness, here are three tips that might help you manage your pain and sleep quality.

  • Prioritize sleep – it is important to maintain a regular sleep schedule and to get treatment for sleep disorders if necessary.
  • Create a quiet environment – chronic pain has been known to intensify in the presence of sound stress.
  • Exercise – regular exercise is known to improve symptoms in some patients. For people with fibromyalgia, low-impact activities such as walking, yoga or swimming are the best choice.