For fibromyalgia patients: Information about sleep stages.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by abbylee, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. abbylee

    abbylee New Member

    So many fibromyalgia patients have a sleep disorder. The sleep disorder that is most common is called alpha wave intrusion. Alpha intrusion is defined below:

    Medical researchers have documented specific and distinctive abnormalities in the stage 4 deep sleep of FM patients. During sleep, individuals with FM are constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity, limiting the amount of time they spend in deep sleep. The activity is known as alpha wave intrusion.

    So far Xyrem has been the medication that has shown the most promise in treating this disorder.

    I have some general informaion about sleep, and have posted it below:

    Research has identified five distinct stages of sleep. During the course of an eight hour sleep period, a person should cycle through the various sleep stages every 90 minutes or so.

    Stage 1 sleep is a transition period between wakefulness and sleep. Sometimes you may have a sudden dream onset. You may still be connected to the awakened world and could easily be aroused into wakefulness.

    From Stage 1, you will descend into Stage 2 where your breathing and heart rate will begin to slow down. During the continuous sleep cycles throughout the night, you should spend almost half your sleep time in Stage 2.

    Next comes Stage 3 and 4, which are somewhat similar. This is sometimes referred to as Delta Sleep because of the slow delta brain waves which have been recorded during this sleep stage.

    Delta sleep is a regenerative period where your body heals and repairs itself. Sometimes during illness, your body may fall immediately into Delta sleep because infection fighting antibodies are produced in greater numbers in this sleep stage.

    The first episode of Stage 3 and 4 sleep lasts from 45-90 minutes. Progressive episodes of Delta Sleep have shorter and shorter time periods as the night goes on. After several complete sleep cycles earlier in the night, your body does not re-enter stages 3 and 4 any longer, but enters the 5th Stage also called REM (rapid eye movement)

    Stage 5 is also called REM or "rapid eye movement". It is during REM periods that we dream. Your body creates chemicals that make you temporarily paralyzed. Your mind is extremely active, and your eyes are moving as if you were awake.

    In REM, your heart and breathing rate increases and becomes irregular. Your eyes move from side to side.

    As the end of your sleep period approaches, your body temperature begins to rise. Your breathing and heart rate normalizes. You may awake suddenly, perhaps remembering a dream, as you have just ended a REM period.

    Having a sleep study and getting medication to treat alpha intrusion has been a Godsend to me. If you have fibromyalgia, please have a sleep study.


    <br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 09/04/2005</i>]
  2. elsa

    elsa New Member

    For posting this. I am as strong supporter of sleep studies as you are. I'm glad you have a treatment plan that is working for you.

    My sleep disorder is a tad off the FM path. I have some
    alpha intrusion, but not bad at all compared to most you guys. My problem is absolutely ZERO REM sleep ... we're talkin' nada here.

    The sleep experts don't know as much about the consequences of disrupted REM as they do about deep wave and alpha intrusion, but they know enough to understand that it can be very harmful to fibro patients if they miss out on REM.

    Since I hadn't been on any medications or supplements known for suppressing REM, my doctor figured something needed to be done asap for me. Lunesta helps me greatly. Thank God ! Like you, I have noticed an improvement in my health with my improved sleep.

    Prior to my study, my doctor discussed the possibility of xyrem for me. ( He's very familiar with CFS/FM patient's and their alpha intrusion problem. Assumed it would be the same for me.)

    Found out differently after my study. Xyrem suppresses
    REM, so it's not the drug for me. I'm thrilled it works for you though!!

    Thanks again for posting this. I'd like to add something
    along the lines of sleep study benefits. Insurance companies can sink their teeth into sleep disorders and all the side problems that go along with it. They won't balk at the need for provigil or sleep meds. .. and in some cases, pain meds.

    It might also go a long way in documenting an illness that requires a favorable disability decision.

    Hope all are well,

  3. abbylee

    abbylee New Member

    Thanks for your reply. I applied for disability just last week and hope that between the sleep disorder, fibromyalgia, and a ruptured disc I will be approved.

    I think if fibromyalgia patients will go for a sleep study and get adequate treatment if they have one, the prognosis will improve greatly.

  4. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    if you have NO slow-wave sleep? I had a sleep study which showed .4% of stage 3 or 4 sleep and no REM. Could that be called one massive INTRUSION! (ha)

    ALSO...I'd like to know what's going on with "sleep-state misperception". I was diagnosed with that because I had nearly 7 hours of STAGE 2 sleep. Sounds almost like..."so you just THINK you're not sleeping but you really ARE! So, you must be OK".

    Well, I can accept that the state I was in during my sleep study could possibly be technically called sleep. But, I swear I was CONSCIOUS all night long. I worry that if I had an operation, I would APPEAR asleep but really be entirely conscious!

    At home, I use the radio (tuned very low) to mildly amuse my exhausted but still-conscious mind. I am SO tired and know that I am probably not registering ANY brain-waves, but the next day I can tell you the details of topics discussed on the radio by all the late-night crazies.

    So far, only klonopin helps me attain unconsciousness. It doesn't work for long, and I understand it is probably not stage 3 or 4. I am hoping to try Xyrem one day.
  5. abbylee

    abbylee New Member

    I don't know how to answer your questions as I am just a patient like you.

    I was given the above information by a sleep specialist and can copy it here, but I can't elaborate on very much of it. Only the parts that involve what I have and/or what I have asked my doctor about.

    Sorry that I can't be of help with your situation, but I suspect your sleep doctor has literature on your condition.

    The reason I know a little more about Narcolepsy is because that's what I thought I had before my sleep study, and I had gotten information on it.

  6. LonelyHearts

    LonelyHearts New Member

  7. LonelyHearts

    LonelyHearts New Member