Tips for Better Sleep

Happy February Everyone!

We had a great turnout at our recent Fibromyalgia (FM) Forum. This was the first meeting of a new monthly lecture series that we have started at the request of a client who has FM. Those with FM, and other chronic pain sufferers, can now benefit from this forum which will offer more information about the Who? What? Where? How? and Why? of FM and chronic pain.

The first lecture was FM101. It covered the basics of what Fibromyalgia is, how it is diagnosed and most importantly how it is treated. I presented information on the latest research regarding: diet, sleep, nutritional supplements and exercise. For those interested, I will briefly highlight the important topics in future blogs. If there is interest, I would be happy to do FM101 again. My one hour lecture ran over by 45 minutes, thanks in part to all of the great comments shared by the group. The energy was extremely positive. I am sure future meetings will continue to be informative and time well spent.

Some notes from the meeting:

The most critical factor in getting FM symptoms or any type of chronic pain under control is proper sleep. Many with FM do not get long periods of restful sleep which then does not allow the body time to heal. Thus, many people wake up feeling exhausted, even after being in bed for 9-10 hours. One great piece of advice that was shared by Diane was that a FitBit can track how much "deep" sleep you actually get at night. These devices are also great for tracking calories and exercise.

Here are a few tips to get a better, more restful sleep at night:

  • Exercise 1-2 hours before bed, if you find you are too revved up, scale back to 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Be consistent with your night and morning routines. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Catching up on weekly missed sleep on the weekends helps a great deal.
  • Drink 3-4 oz of tart cherry juice before going to bed.
  • Eat a light snack with a little protein before bed, such as, a baked potato or a small piece of chicken with a glass of milk. This will help to release serotonin which assists with sleep.
  • Have a few walnuts, they have melatonin which induces sleep.
  • Take magnesium as a natural sleep aide before graduating to a prescription medication. Magnesium helps promote deeper sleep. (Prime Dreamz from nutraMetrix is one supplement recommended. Pick a bottle up from our office for $23.00.)
  • Massaging your calf muscles before bed helps with a better night’s sleep. Using a heated acuball is one easy way to do it yourself. Go to acuball.com or stop by the clinic and pick one up for $30.
  • Get a little sunlight every day. It helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
  • Unplug from all electronics one hour before bed and put your phone in another room while charging.
  • Keep lighted clocks turned away from you so your room is completely dark, while maintaining a cooler temperature for sleeping.

If you are doing all of these things and still having sleep issues, it's time to see a sleep doctor. Ask your primary care physician for a recommendation. There are many new technologies to assist with determining what is causing sleep disorders, so do not hesitate to get further help.

Our group will meet the second Saturday of every month at 10:30 AM.

The next meeting is Saturday, February 14th. A great way to start your Valentine’s Day!! The topic is Trigger Point Dry Needling and Fascial Manipulation Treatments presented by Ben Grotenhuis, PT. An on-line support group is also forming and information on how to join will be given at this meeting.

Thomas Aquinas said it best, "Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine."