Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FMS) are similar and overlapping conditions that affect thousands of people especially women. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, an expert in diagnosing and treating chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia probably has the easiest way to define these conditions: unexplained fatigue that is disabling along with two or more of the following:
- Brain fog
- Poor sleep
- Diffuse achiness
- Increased thirst
- Bowel dysfunction and/or
- Recurrent and/or persistent infections or flu-like symptoms
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia?
Many things contribute to these two conditions including dysfunction of the hypothalamus, which is a control center in the brain, hormonal imbalances, immune system dysfunction, and poor sleep.
Why is Sleep So Important?
Up to 99% of people with fibromyalgia suffer from poor sleep, and the more disordered the sleep is the more severe the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia is.
Sleep is that period when the body recovers and rejuvenates itself. During deep sleep growth hormone is released which is a healing hormone facilitating tissue repair thereby reducing pain.
Of the many treatments available the best way to eliminate fatigue and pain associated with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome is get 8 to 9 hours of good sleep a night.
Basic Sleeping Tips for CFS/FMS Patients
- Do not use your bed to do work or problem solving.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime.
- Consume no caffeine after 4 PM.
- Consider a hot bath before bed.
- Keep the temperature of the bedroom on the cool side.
- Avoid drinking fluids before bedtime if you frequently wake up to urinate.
- Have a light protein based snack before bed.
- Get out of bed the same time every morning.
Along with the basic sleeping tips most sufferers of CFS and MFS require some help from any number of sleep aids. These can range from a variety of herbs, hormones, nutritional supplements, and prescribed medications.
Herbs that may aid in sleep include valerian, passionflower, hops, wild lettuce, and Jamaican dogwood.
The hormone melatonin helps to regulate the wake-sleep cycle and typically production of it diminishes as we age. It also is a very potent antioxidant and improves immune system function.
Nutritional supplements that can improve sleep include magnesium and calcium. D-ribose improves sleep while it restores energy levels. Another effective supplement is 5-HTP, the immediate precursor to serotonin, an important neurotransmitter. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.
There are a number of prescribed medications helpful for improving sleep. Many times take a number of prescribed medications in low doses works better for people with CFS/FMS than taking maximum doses of one or two medications. Using lower doses can also minimize side effects. This is best discussed with your physician.
Battle chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia – take the necessary steps to improve your sleep.
See articles of interest.