I Am Finally Sleeping

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by samaelrising, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. samaelrising

    samaelrising New Member

    I have fibro and for the last several months I've been using sunlight (or a light box, like people with seasonal affective disorder use). I get up and sit outside on a sunny day, or in front of the light box, at the same time every morning (if you vary that time by more than 10-15 minutes each day this won't work). I sit there for at least half an hour, not looking directly into the sky or into the light box - it's too bright - but just below the lightbox's lamp, or just wherever outside. And at night, I turn off the lights when I go to bed at almost the same time every night too. I suffered horrendous insomnia for six years and this finally has me sleeping almost consistently without pills.

    It took me two weeks doing this before it started working.

    I've had short periods where I'd stop sleeping again, but solved it by going to bed at a later time (yet still waking up at the same time) - reducing my sleep duration. I sleep for 7 hours a night now. You may need more or a little less. My sleep therapist says people with chronic insomnia, including insomnia caused by fibromyalgia, often don't need 8 hours of sleep like a lot of "normal" people do. If you're sleeping even a little more than what you really need you may be "stretching" your sleep out and diluting its quality. The light is the predominate thing though.

    As I'm sure you know, what works for one person may not work for another, but I wanted to throw this out there in case you haven't tried it.


    [This Message was Edited on 06/17/2006]
  2. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I wonder why? I've been trying to get out in the sun every day (that we have sun) but it's not at the same time of day.

    PS. email addys aren't allowed here.

  3. samaelrising

    samaelrising New Member

    Thanks guys, I took my email address off my post.

    Google "circadian rhythm" + "insomnia" to find websites. You may try adding "light", "sunlight" or "full spectrum light" to that search as well.

    It has to do with your circadian rhythm. You get up at the same time each day and expose your retinas to sunlight or full spectrum light for at least half an hour. Then every night enter total darkness at the same time too. If you constantly switch around the times, your circadian rhythm can't set itself - it's a "rhythm".

    Lightbulbs around your house, even if they're full spectrum, usually aren't bright enough to have any effect on insomnia. Sunlight on a bright day can be as bright as 100,000 lux, and light boxes should be at least 10,000 lux, and even then you have to sit right in front of them.

    The schedule has to be precise - I can't stress this enough - don't vary the times by more than 10-15 minutes or it won't work. Everyday I go to bed at 1 AM and look at the light in the morning at 8 AM. But the time of day isn't important, it's the duration of your sleep (for example, I could go to sleep at 11 PM and wake up at 6 AM - same duration.). Just whatever your beditime / wake time is, stick to that same time every day.
    My sleep therapist told me when I sleep too long sleep quality becomes diluted to the point that you lay there all night not really sleeping, leading you to of course be incredibly tired all day. So you're living in this twilight zone not really sleeping and not really being awake, instead of a normal sleep/wake circadian rhythm. When you're figuring out how many hours of sleep you actually need, try to factor in the tiredness/fatigue simply caused by the fibromyalgia, it may not all be because you're not sleeping long enough.

    Also, when you miss a night, or longer, of sleep, don't feel you need to make up for this "sleep debt" by sleeping longer the next night. My sleep therapist says advice on sleep spread by the popular media, such as "get 8 hours" and how you should make up for any "sleep debt", doesn't apply to us and to pretty much ignore it. She told me when I don't sleep for a night or several nights, to just stay up, and not take a sleeping pill, in order to let this "sleep debt" work in my favor so that I may sleep better the next night.

    Of course this is all irrelevant if you're not sleeping naturally anyway. So keep it in mind, but really concentrate on using the light and keeping the regular schedule.

    Sometimes, especially when you're first starting out, you may have to use sleeping pills, I did, but the light may start working faster and working better for you if you try to minimize sleeping pills as much as possible. Also, don't take naps. I know this is more easily said than done.

    Also, maybe it goes without saying, but don't wear sunglasses (or possibly even any glasses) when you're getting your morning light and don't just look out a window, it blocks out some of the necessary wavelength.

    Please consider trying this.
    Good luck.

    [This Message was Edited on 06/19/2006]
  4. Jeanne-in-Canada

    Jeanne-in-Canada New Member

    Welcome Aaron, sorry about that hasty poster, we've had scams before, just yesteday actually. But I use light therapy myself, I have an on again off again sleep disorder, but that's probably from SAD, which is the main reason for it. And it worked, better than antidepressants ever did. I have to use adrenals and other glandulars to get full benefit for the depression end, but I'm so happy w/ it. I thought I had to live in hell every winter, I'd given in.

    I'm quite a bit more willynilly about when I start the therapy, depends on when I get up. And I do one or two more short sessions in the late aft and/or early evening to ward off daytime exhaustion.

    To the poster who wanted a site w/ more info on light therapy, Apollo has the best info w/ many articles on the different uses of it. I bought my lamp at Full Spectrum Solutions though, online.

  5. kriket

    kriket New Member

    I am glad that you are sleeping better. It only makes things worse when you can't get your rest.

  6. julieisfree05

    julieisfree05 New Member

    I live in the Mojave Desert - sunlight from 5am to 8pm these days!

    You figure a way to bottle it, and I'll supply it! We'll make a killin'..LOL!

    FWIW, I had a BRUTAL sleep disorder, and the ONLY thing that ever helped it was Xyrem. You can do a search on my posts if your interested in learning about it - even if you don't need it.

    I'm glad you found something that helped you..

    - julie (is free!)

    You made your bed
    and you're out of mine
    You lie awake
    and I sleep just fine.. - Sara Evans
    [This Message was Edited on 06/18/2006]

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