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Iā€™m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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Felicia Fibro - Life with fibromyalgia, EMPOWERED!

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Tips & Tools for Sleeping Well – Part II

Following are some tips that I haven’t previously shared with you on how to sleep well with fibromyalgia. The first one is to try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps regulate your biological clock. Also, avoid regularly taking naps during the day. If you’re a smoker, refrain from smoking/having nicotine at least one hour before bedtime. This is because nicotine stimulates the Central Nervous System and can cause withdrawal symptom headaches in the middle of the night.

When picking an alarm clock, if you want one that has LED lights, choose one with red light. Red light has minimal effect on melatonin production, whereas blue light suppresses melatonin much more. Historically this worked well since daytime offered natural blue light and at night our lights (fires, lamps, etc…) cast reddish light. I find this fascinating!

The following foods, if eaten at least three hours before bedtime, can help you sleep better. 2 oz. of chia seeds (yes, like Chia Pet!) have two times more tryptophan than in turkey breast. If you like tea, check out valerian or chamomile tea because they are natural sedatives. Wheat germ is high in B6 and elevates alleviates stress and anxiety and helps with just 1 teaspoon!

When I attended a talk on fibromyalgia by Dr. Andrew Holman, renowned Rheumatologist with an interest in new treatment options for fibromyalgia, he spoke about sleep. He suggested that everyone with fibromyalgia have a sleep study completed. One reason for this is to make sure there aren’t other conditions that may need treatment so they aren’t disrupting sleep – such as Restless Leg Syndrome or Sleep Apnea. He passed along a practice that one of his patients does. Instead of mentally telling herself she is going to “go to sleep now,” she tells herself that she is going to “go to rest now.” This made it easier for her mentally because instead of getting frustrated that she was failing at sleeping she could relax, knowing she was succeeding at resting. Of course, being more relaxed helped her get to sleep easier as a result. Holman says he sees value in this practice because it reduces autonomic tension.

Have you participated in a sleep study?

For more ideas, see: Tips & Tools for Sleeping Well…Part I, Part III, Part IV, Part V and Tips for Sleeping Well

A red L.E.D. alarm clock

A red L.E.D. alarm clock*

*Image Credit: from


Comment from Jenna Visscher
Time February 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

Hi Felicia, Yes, I did a sleep study and officially I have apnea but then an ENT told me I have a soft pallet issue that just causes me to snore – humpf. Nothing like two opinions to really complicate things worse. I use a sleep mask – I started using one when I was dealing with iritis (inflammation of the iris) that is associated with AS (which I have also) and the light sensitivity became so intense and painful. But, now I love it. Temper-pedic makes the best one. Super soft and it curves really well to your face and doesn’t let the light in. Also, I use valerian root to help me sleep after years of on and off ambien I think I get a better quality of sleep from it – and no trance like walks to the ice cream in the middle of the night – lol! Great article! – Jenna


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Doesn’t it seem like so many things are not clear cut when it comes to living in a body that has fibromyalgia? My allergist and I always joke about that. I agree, I LOVE the Temper-pedic sleeping mask! I actually suggest using it in Tips & Tools to Sleep Well…Part I. I’m glad to hear that valerian root helps you so much! Although I’ve never gotten out of bed when I’ve taken Ambien, I am in a daze for quite awhile after I wake up.


Comment from Maija Haavisto
Time February 18, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I had a sleep study done in 2007. No abnormalities were found, except that it took me three hours to fall asleep. That was normal for me, before I even went to school. After that I got melatonin (of course I’d have tried that ages ago, but it’s Rx in Finland, and here too). After taking my first melatonin dose I felt sleepy. I had never felt like that in my whole life!

I had been sleeping quite well for a few years with a combination of melatonin and inositol or ashwagandha or baclofen (nowadays I take both ashwagandha and baclofen) and hydrocortisone. Sadly then my pituitary problems got worse and now I have lots of sleeping problems again, which can’t really be fixed. At least not until someone comes up with a hydrocortisone pump…


Felicia Fibro Reply:

I didn’t know that melatonin was prescription only in some places! That is wonderful it helped you so much, but I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble sleeping again! How frustrating that must be, after you’d “figured it out” already!


Comment from Brenda
Time March 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm

The Cleveland Clinic said to not take Melatonin with an autoimmune disorder.


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thanks for sharing that, Brenda! It is always nice to hear how leaders in the medical field feel about supplements.


Comment from Debora
Time March 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Wheat germ is high in B6 and elevates stress and anxiety and helps with just 1 teaspoon!

Are you sure this is right? If it elevates stress and anxiety, why would we want to ingest it?


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thank you for catching my typo, Debora! It alleviates stress and anxiety, not elevates!


Comment from Nicky
Time December 19, 2012 at 7:54 am

A sleep study was suggested for me, but my insurance didn’t cover it. My doctor suggested I use the side sleeper pillow. I take trazadone for sleep. He also suggests no naps during the day which can be a challenge when my sleep rhythm gets off track. Btw, love your blog!


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thanks Nicky! That’s a bummer that your insurance company wouldn’t cover it. Did you try having your doctor submit a request with reasons you need it? Sometimes that helps get procedures/tests approved.


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