Things that help me sleep soundly

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by jbc66, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. jbc66

    jbc66 New Member

    I’ve pretty much determined that my fibromyalgia pain is directly related to my inability to go into phase 4 sleep and the little time I spend in phase 3 (about 5 % a night- had a sleep study done and these were the results) without proper sleep, the neuroendocrine system gets out of whack and the pain, fatigue, and “fibro-fog” start. Several months ago, I started doing a couple of things that have made a huge difference in my ability to feel rested in the morning.

    First, I bought a bed pad with a heating element in it. About an hour before I go to bed, I preheat the pad to high. Right as I get in bed, I turn the heat off --don’t fall asleep with it on because then your sleep will be worse! I lie in bed, doing deep breathing exercises and by the time I am ready to fall asleep I am completely relaxed. (to see the kind of matress pad I use check out ) (EDIT- this isn't exactly the kind I use - mine doesn't have the three temperature zones and was little less expensive, but this should give you an idea.)

    One thing I realized, is that I am extremely sensitive, physically that is. If I am in a room with a light vibration that I can barely sense, such as being in a room above an HVAC system, the next day I am really sick. Somehow, my body doesn’t tune it out and I get over stimulated. I thought that if my nervous system is that suggestible in terms of picking up alpha waves, then it should be just as susceptible to delta wave. I did some internet research, and discovered a CD called Delta Sleep System by Dr. Jeffrey Thomas.

    I will be the first to tell you that I am incredibly suspect of alternative medicine, but the thing was only $10 and the reviews on Amazon were glowing. I sent away for the thing and it has made an incredible difference. I turn it on as I am going to sleep (have a CD player next to the bed). It used to be if I would wake up in the middle of the night, it would take an hour or more to fall back asleep. Now I just press play and within minutes I am asleep.

    While it is true I am having something of a relapse right now in terms of pain, I am still waking up refreshed using the above recommendations. I also don’t have the cognitive difficulties I had in the past when I was having a relapse.

    Following is the link on amazon for the CD if you want to read more about it.

    After I started doing the above two things, I felt rested for the first time in over a DECADE.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/12/2008]
  2. moreinfoplease

    moreinfoplease New Member

    I am having same problems with not getting stage 4 sleep, and am going to see a sleep specialist next week for it. One of the things my dr (who works in same office of dr I am going to be seeing next week) discussed as a possibility is xyrem. I would prefer something less drastic, but am willing to try almost anything at this point. I had seen the delta sleep cd you mention, but having tried other similar things in the past didn't try it. Maybe I will reconsider. I don't remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed even when I sleep for up to 13 hours. So I am struck by the fack that you are waking up feeling refreshed.
  3. jbc66

    jbc66 New Member

    I take a low dose of doxepin as I have for almost 10 years. While that helped me "sleep" in the sense that I wasn't up all night because it inhibited the searing burning pain in my arms, scalp, legs and back, I didn't feel refreshed. Prior to the above non-drug interventions, I have tried ambien, trazadone, lorazapam, and a myriad of SSRIs. Nothing helped me to feel refreshed.

    Back in September, I was weighed under water in one of those tanks to determine by body fat ratio. The water is set at warm temperature, somewhere around 94 degrees. Afterward, I came home and was so sleepy I took a nap. First off, I haven't been able to fall asleep for a nap in years. Second, I woke up over two hours later and felt refreshed for the first time since the early 90's. I am not exaggerating. That clued me into realizing that something could relax me enough so that I could sleep well enough to feel refreshed again.

    I saw a sleep specialist a few years back and he told me all of my problems were because I was overweight. I just needed to take some weight off and my troubles would be over. I was annoyed - it was clear he was dismissing me because of my weight - yet I am heavy because of the DAMN SSRIs they started me on a few years back. Prior to those, I was fit and trim. He hadn't even looked at the sleep study he ordered when I came back for the follow up. It was as if he decided the first time he saw me, he knew what the problem was. To make matters worse, I was continuing to gain weight because a) I was still on SSRIs and b) when your body doesn't go into deep sleep it is nearly impossible to lose because one's metabolism is mucked up.

    At any rate, I had my sleep study results transferred to a different sleep doc. He and I met shortly after my experience in the hot water tank and he is the one that told me that I had alpha wave intrusion throughout the night. He even showed me the pattern on my sleep study. I have a very light sleep apnea but that is not what is causing my problem he said. Consequently, my sleep disorder had little to do with the weight I gained, at least in a mechanical sense. Frankly, there's no telling what kind of chemical messages my fat cells are sending to the rest of my body. As I often say, fat cells do a lot more than just hanging around making me ugly. :)

    The new sleep doc wanted me to try Gabapentin but at some point during this illness, I remember being on it and not responding well. I have probably tried two dozen drugs since I first got sick back in '98. Then I decided to start to focus on my sleep hygiene and slowly wean myself off everything. So far, I've been doing really well except for this last flare-up.

    To complicate things though, I was diagnosed recently as borderline hypothyroid, so I was started on hormones about 5 weeks ago. At the four-week mark, I had the flare up. So it could be that those caused this flare-up, or it could be that I quit the SSRIs about 4 months ago and the first time I got sick was 5 months after stopping the SSRIs the first time. I hope I don't have to stop the thyroid hormones because I have real energy again and I have lost about six pounds in the last 5 weeks.

    I know this a lot more than you asked, but I figured I'd lay it all out there, just so you, or anyone else curious, have the entire history. I remember when I first got sick, I was so scared and I really wanted answers. I really hope that others will try the no drug interventions and have as much success as I have. Life is so much easier just being on a low dose of doxepin.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/13/2008]
    [This Message was Edited on 07/13/2008]
    [This Message was Edited on 07/13/2008]
  4. brainfoggy

    brainfoggy New Member

    It helps but my sleep is still very disordered. I listen to fall asleep and get back to sleep when I wake.

    I'm interested in xyrem too as I was told this is the only way to get effective deep sleep. It's expensive without insurance, which I don't have.
  5. jbc66

    jbc66 New Member

    "I'm interested in xyrem too as I was told this is the only way to get effective deep sleep."

    Who told you it is the ONLY way to get effective deep sleep? I think there is no telling until you try something. Everybody's chemistry is different so I would be suspect of someone who says something is the ONLY way for anything. Maybe it was the only thing that worked for him or her, but that doesn't mean it is the only thing that will work for you or me, or the guy across the street. In any illness, different people have different reactions to different medications. That's why some people with cancer are cured on some chemo regimens and others are not and why some people have side effects when taking certain drugs while others are side effect free.

    I don’t think fibromyalgia is psychiatric disorder, but there is no arguing that stress, either emotional or physical can make it worse. Any strategies a person can adopt to lessen stress helps. That’s why I try to stay away from “all or nothing” or “either or” thinking. Again, if you think that the ONLY thing that will help you is impossible to get, that increases anxiety, which in turn stresses the body leading to more symptoms.

    Another thing that supposedly interferes with sleep for some people: too much screen time. ( see ). So while on the one hand it might help to peruse boards like these, spending too much time on them can make insomnia worse.
  6. butterfly83

    butterfly83 New Member

    I agree about the Delta Wave sleep cd. It really helps me sleep more soundly, and fall asleep faster. It's cheap and works.
  7. heapsreal

    heapsreal New Member

    Doxepin is probably the most reliable sleep med i have used. I take periodic breaks from it so it keeps working and get by on antihistamines for a while. I take traditional sleep meds once a week and have 2-3 nights a week drug free or sleep free lol. Doxepin definately improves the quality of my sleep.