Sleep Deprivation & Fibromyalgia—which comes first?


Guess who gets the restful sleep?

Is this your pet? Yes, it’s mine, too!

Are you getting enough sleep?

In a healthy person, sleep deprivation was shown to cause symptoms of Fibromyalgia, such as brain fog and a heightened sensitivity to pain.

One such study was conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which found that women who reported sleep problems were significantly more likely to have developed Fibromyalgia than the women without sleep problems.

It was also discovered that the risk of developing Fibromyalgia increases with a woman’s age and the severity of the sleep deprivation.

Sleep Deprivation affects Focus and Memory 

Sleep deprivation can lead to an inability to focus, and affects memory, which is essential for learning.

A lack of sleep leaves us drowsy and leads to impaired memory and physical performance.  We are unable to carry out complex cognitive, motor or learning tasks; all typical symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

It has been shown that restful sleep is critical in supporting immune function, metabolism, and other vital activities of the body.

Deep sleep aids in the release of several hormones, such as growth hormone in children and young adults.  Many of the body’s cells also show increased growth and repair of damage from factors like stress and UV rays during deep sleep.

Some experts believe sleep gives neurons a chance to maintain themselves.  Being sleep deprived, neurons may become so overloaded by normal cellular activities that they begin to malfunction.

Sleep may also give the brain a chance to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate from lack of activity.

Which came first?  Sleep deprivation or Fibromyalgia?

With the study mentioned above, there are a few important factors not taken into account, such as menopause and physical illnesses or traumas.  Fibromyalgia is often triggered by illness or trauma, so they should have been considered.

There are still many questions left to be answered:

  • Is it possible that difficulty sleeping is just the first FM symptom to show up?
  • What causes the sleep problems to begin with?
  • If sleep problems were identified and treated early enough, could FM be prevented?

One Foot Out of the Bed, I was told by my doctor

Most doctors will address the sleep deprivation first when seeing a patient with Fibromyalgia.  Unbeknownst to me, I was sleep deprived.  My doctor told me it was like having one foot out of the bed all night long.  I was not reaching that deep level of sleep that I so desperately needed.

To avoid any further outcomes of sleep deprivation, I did accept the help of a low-dose antidepressant that worked well for me.

Later, I chose to go a more natural route when I was instructed not to eat grapefruit, which I love, while taking this prescription.

I had also put on an extra ten pounds, which I was not happy about.

Tips to Avoid Sleep Deprivation

I have also discovered, from working in the healthcare field, routines at bedtime are crucial.

My bedtime pattern begins with a warm, soothing Epsom salts bath, which bathes the muscles in magnesium, vital for a person living with pain from Fibromyalgia. Did you know that AFA Blue-Green Algae is loaded with this necessary nutrient?

I then practice my stretches that I have learned at my weekly Yoga class.

On my bedside table  I have my lemon water and yogurt , to which I have added digestive enzymes, knowing I will be grateful the next morning for the extra benefits! 

***Here are other helpful tips for a refreshing night’s sleep:


Photo Credit:  Web MD  and



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