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Sleep Disorders in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Sleep Basics & Beyond

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Updated December 21, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Sleep complaints are extremely common in fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Central to these illnesses is "unrefreshing" sleep – not feeling rested no matter how much sleep you get.

Poor sleep may be a symptom of FMS or ME/CFS, sleep disorder(s) or a combination of both. Some doctors believe that treating sleep complaints can cause significant improvement in other symptoms. Inadequate sleep can also make your symptoms worse.

To help you better understand sleep and sleep problems, I've compiled some articles from About.com Sleep Guide Brandon Peters, M.D., who has extensive experience with sleep disorders and has a sleep fellowship at Stanford University, considered the world's leading training program for sleep-disorder medicine.

Basics of Sleep

When you research sleep problems, it helps to know some basic information and terminology, such as what the different sleep stages are. Find that information below, along with a look at how much sleep is normal and the symptoms of sleep deprivation. You'll be better able to gauge whether you're getting enough sleep.

Also See:

Sleep Disorder Basics

When most people think about sleep disorders, insomnia is first and foremost on their minds. It's a common problem, but it's far from the only one out there. Here's some basic information about sleep disorders, including 10 symptoms to watch for.

Also See:

Diagnosing Sleep Disorders

Diagnosing sleep disorders isn't as simple as, say, reviewing the results of a blood test. Along with a look at diagnostic procedures, these articles can help you find the right sleep doctor for you. By keeping records of your sleep patterns, you'll learn how to help your doctor diagnose your condition.

Also See:

Possible Misdiagnoses

Fatigue and lack of energy are symptoms that a lot of conditions have in common; doctors face a real challenge when tracking down their source. Depression (which is common in people with FMS and ME/CFS) is sometimes diagnosed when it's actually a sleep disorder causing problems.

Likewise, narcolepsy and ME/CFS can have a very similar appearance to your doctor. At least one study has recommended testing for narcolepsy before diagnosing ME/CFS.

Sleep Disorders in Children

Some doctors believe that chronic sleep deprivation from sleep disorders may lead to FMS or make people predisposed to developing it. Because we know FMS can run in families, it's possible that early identification and treatment of sleep disorders could help protect our children's future health.

These articles can help you recognize and understand sleep problems in children:

The Importance of Sleep

If you have one or more sleep disorders, a number of treatment options are available to you. Medications may be the first choice for many. But did you know that several devices, including machines, and even surgery are sometimes used? A lot of alternative treatments work for some people.

Brandon has extensive information on different types of treatment:

The Importance of Treatment

When you have a fatiguing illness, it may seem useless to treat sleep disorders. However, it's important to remember that having an untreated sleep disorder will make your other conditions worse.

Sleep disorders can also be hazardous to your overall health, with some causing high blood pressure and even raising your risk of stroke and heart disease.

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, it's important to talk to your doctor so you can be accurately diagnosed and treated.

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