Fibromyalgia and Sleep

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treatment plan must address both alleviation of pain and minimization of sleep disturbance.


Fibromyalgia is a persistent condition for which there is no cure. It is common for symptoms of fibromyalgia to wax and wane; they may be more severe at certain times of the day, month, or year and they may remit for an extended period of time only to reappear later either for no apparent reason or following a traumatic event such as an automobile accident. But there are ways of coping with fibromyalgia symptoms and preventing exacerbation of pain. Here are some tips:

  • Prioritize sleep – it is important for people with fibromyalgia 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.
  • Medication – work with a physician to develop an effective medication regime.
  • Massage – gentle massage, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques are all generally considered beneficial with respect to chronic pain management.


According to the 1996 NSF Gallup poll, more women (58%) suffer from nighttime pain than men (48%). In the 2000 NSF Sleep in America poll, one in four women reported that pain or physical discomfort interrupted their sleep three nights a week or more.

Reviewed by Sherwood M. Chetlin, MD and Carol Landis, DNSc, RN, FAAN.

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