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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How to deal with insomnia and fibromyalgia?

    I am unable to sleep at night because I can only feel pain radiating throughout my body. My body aches and causes me to feel extremely anxious and worried. How can I get some rest at night? Should I take sleep meds and/or anti-anxiety meds?
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  • 1

    Thanks

    Jade Hucker

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a Clinical Psychologist with experience in Chronic Pain Management, Weight Management, Depression and Anxiety. View Profile

    Most adults will experience some sleep difficulties at some stage of their life and adding pain to the equation only makes things harder. I would leave medications as a last resort because sleeping meds don't allow you to enter the deepest stage of sleep (stage 4) and so most people don't wake up feeling refreshed (hangover feeling). Also anti-anxiety meds can be addictive.
    There is probably not much you can do about the physical pain but we can do something about the anxiety and worry which is probably the main culprit here. When we feel pain or can't get to sleep our minds tend to be fairly unhelpful e.g. “I'm in so much pain, I'll never get to sleep, If I don't get enough sleep my pain will be worse tomorrow, oh my goodness its already 3am,…………..” and so it goes on. The more panicked we get the more our heart rate increases along with many other physical symptoms of anxiety which are not conducive to good sleep.
    However, trying to not have these thoughts actually doesn't work either. It turns out that humans are not very good at thought supression. Example, try to not think about a pink elephant. Hard isn't it?
    So what can you? Mindfulness meditation, whilst not designed to send you to sleep can help you have a calmer relationship with your pain and your thoughts and thus give yourself a better chance to get to sleep. Mindfulness meditation is about simply noticing the pain and your thoughts as they arise.
    Try counting your breaths up to ten then start again at one. Example, in, out, one, in, out, two, in, out, three……….. Don't try to change your breathing in any way just count. If your mind wonders away to pain or thoughts, simply notice where your mind has gone and start back at one.

  • Josephine Perry

    Bowen Therapist

    Josephine is a fully qualified Bowen Therapist, with full insurance cover and Association membership. Rebates provided by most health funds, according to levels of cover.Practice … View Profile

    I agree with Jade and Dianne.  Bowen Therapy is very effective at relieving the pain of fibromyalgia.  With pain relief comes increased mobility and you would more relaxed and tired, which would help your current sleep pattern. The beyondblue fact sheets on this website are extremely helpful with the question of sleep.  I hope your condition improves.

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