Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Typical Fibromyalgia Sleep Pattern


Or, at least, this is my typical, erratic, sleep pattern, tracked by Yawnlog.

As you can see from the image above, which covers the month of March 2010, I might sleep for anything between just 4 and over 12 hours in any 24.

What the graph doesn't show, however, is that my sleep is often broken and those daily totals may be made up from several smaller naps. I do try to stay awake all day and not take afternoon naps, but there are times when I just can't keep awake in the day and many others when I just can't stay asleep at night, so I'll sit up and do something for a while until I'm able to get another nap.

Naps might work for other people, but I'm acutely aware of this having a noticeable negative effect, meaning, I wake up tired and get tireder (sic).

This is despite trying to follow the usual "sleep hygiene" rules as best I can, which isn't perfectly, but then I'm stuck with conditions in someone else's house that don't suit these needs and, have to manage living in one room, so I couldn't banish my computer from my bedroom, as that's where I spend all day too.

I do try to wake up at the same time each day - well, the cats see to that by demanding their breakfast - and, consequently aim for more or less the same going to bed time. The only coffee I drink is at breakfast. I don't eat late at night. I bought a new bed, natural latex mattress and ergonomic pillow.

Those help keep morning pain and stiffness down to a tolerable level.

But I cannot make my bedroom dark enough, even with blackout curtains and miss having small windows with proper wooden shutters, as in Tenerife.

When I do sleep, it's often restless and frequently punctuated by bad dreams.

Thinking back to my childhood, when I was little, my sleep was often disturbed by a recurring nightmare (in colour) about a fat man in dungarees chasing someone up a ladder at the side of a weather-boarded barn.

No idea where that came from or what it might supposedly signify, but I can still see those images in my mind clearly.

And I always had trouble getting up. My mother would call me and I wouldn't stir because I simply didn't hear her, probably because I'd have finally got off to some proper deep sleep that my system didn't want to come out of.

When I did finally wake, it would be a slow process and I'd feel as dog tired as if I'd never been to sleep at all. What I didn't know until 9 years ago, is that during my sleep, I tend to kicking and flailing - Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) - exactly as my father had always done.

Which are precisely the patterns of sleep disorders often associated with fibromyalgia.

It was my mother who told me about this, because she had to sleep with me the first time she came to stay with me in Tenerife after my father died.

So she was the one who initially confirmed that I display symptoms known to be associated with fibromyalgia - which I've explained to her on more occasions than I could count - yet she remained adamant and was telling people she didn't think there was anything wrong with me. Don't try to understand her logic!

Way back when I was a kid, my mother would just call me again and again every morning - or at least she would tell me she had called me lots of times - and she'd just get angrier every time, which made getting up even nastier.

Looking back now, it's incredible to believe that anyone would leave this unquestioned and not think to at least mention it to the doctor.

Recently, I've been taking Valerian root, which has helped a little with both quality and quantity of sleep, but as things are becoming erratic again (not helped by the mornings getting lighter), I think I'm getting resistant to it, so it would be a good idea to give it a rest. I'm going to try Melatonin instead, in the hope that it may help restore normal sleep patterns (whatever those are!)


isforinsects said...

Hi there, I'm one of the developers of YawnLog. We've been on extended hiatus in improving the site, but I'm returning to work on it lately.

What would you like to see YawnLog do?

Pamela said...

Hi, thanks for popping by. To be honest, YawnLog does all I need of it already.


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