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Sleep Disorders in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

What's Making You Tired?


Updated December 17, 2012

Sleep problems are among the most common complaints of people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. In fact, fatigue and waking unrefreshed are part of the diagnostic criteria for both conditions.

In addition to these sleep-related problems, sleep disorders are common in people with fibromyalgia.

Whether symptoms or overlapping conditions, your sleep problems may reduce your functionality and increase your symptoms. Managing them can help you feel a lot better, so it's important to work with your doctor to diagnose your sleep problems and look for effective treatments.

Waking Unrefreshed

Unrefreshing sleep causes people with these illnesses to wake up feeling as if they hadn't slept at all, no matter how long they were asleep. It can have a major impact on how well you feel, as well as how well you function.

Even though fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome have a lot in common, research suggests that they each have their own type of unrefreshing sleep. Learn more here:

Sleep Disorders

Fibromyalgia is associated with several sleep disorders. (However, chronic fatigue syndrome is not.) They include:

Each of these disorders needs to be diagnosed and treated separately from fibromyalgia in order to improve. To diagnose sleep disorders, your doctor may order polysomnography, also known as a sleep study:

Improving Your Sleep

Sometimes, improving your sleep is a matter of changing habits. These resources can help you get started:


Belt NK, Kronholm E, Kauppi MJ. Clinical and experimental rheumatology. 2009 Jan-Feb;27(1):35-41. Sleep problems in fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis compared with the general population.

Mariman A, et al. Acta clinica Belgica. 2012 Jan-Feb;67(1):19-24. Subjective sleep quality and daytime sleepiness in a large sample of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Moldofsky H. CNS spectrums. 2008 Mar;13(3 Suppl 5):22-6. The significance, assessment, and management of nonrestorative sleep in fibromyalgia syndrome.

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