Poor sleep is an almost universal problem for people with CFS and fibromyalgia. Sleep problems include
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Frequent awakenings
- Phase shifting (hard to fall asleep until early morning hours)
- Over-sleeping (8 to 10 hours is ideal)
- Vivid dreams
- Feeling "tired but wired" (feel exhausted but mind is racing)
- Restless legs
- Periodic leg movements
Regardless of the number of hours slept, sleep is usually not restorative, meaning that people wake up tired rather than refreshed. (Even healthy people who are sleep-deprived experience fatigue, cognitive difficulties, irritability and muscle aches.) Also, many people with CFS and FM experience dysania: fatigue, achiness and mental fogginess that lasts one to two hours after rising.
Addressing sleep problems is a good initial focus for symptom management because treating sleep can both improve quality of life and reduce other symptoms. Sleep management plans usually include a combination of strategies from three categories, which you will read about in the next three pages.
If you are ready to create your plan for sleep, print and fill out the sleep worksheet (see link in box above, to the right). If you would like to read our suggestions for how to get started, click on the suggested steps link in the same box.