Ah, that thing so near and dear to us, sleep. Yet in seems when you have FM, it does not seem to matter how many hours you close your eyes, you still wake up feeling like you still have not slept at all.
Now why this happens, the reasons vary and are kinda complex, but short version is, an interruption of the sleep pattern, itself. Normal sleep looks like this:
Stage 1 is a transition state. In this stage, the eyes move slowly and muscle activity slows down.This is a light sleep where you can be easily awakened.
In Stage 2, this is where eye movement stops and the brain waves become slower, with just an occasional burst of rapid brain waves. At this point, the body is preparing to enter deep sleep.
At this point, there are extremely slow brain waves called delta waves are interspersed with smaller, faster waves called theta waves. The sleeper is far more difficult to awaken at this point.
Deepest of the four stages. No eye movement or muscle activity occurs during deep sleep. During this stage, the brain produces more delta waves than theta waves. This is the major point the body does regeneration.
The period of non-REM sleep (NREM) is comprised of Stages 1 through 4 and lasts from 90-130 minutes at a time.
Stage 5 (REM)
“In the REM period (Rapid Eye Movement), breathing becomes more rapid, irregular and shallow, eyes move rapidly and limb muscles are temporarily paralyzed.
It is generally thought that REM-associated muscle paralysis is meant to keep the body from acting out the dreams that occur during this intensely cerebral stage.
Heartbeat may increase and muscles may experience occasional muscular twitches. REM usually takes place 90 minutes after falling asleep. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes, with each recurring REM stage lengthening, and the final one lasting an hour. Most vivid dreaming happens during REM.”
The five stages of sleep, occur in cycles. The first cycle, which ends after the first REM stage, usually lasts 100 minutes.
Each subsequent cycle lasts longer, as its respective REM stage extends. A person may complete five cycles in a typical nights sleep.
Now mind you, this is NORMAL sleep, however that tends to happen to us is that during the delta wave point, stages three and four, alpaha or theta waves, intrude, forcing the person back to a nearly awake state.
“Sleep electroencephalograms of patients with fibromyalgia typically show disturbance of non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep by intrusions of alpha waves and infrequent progression to Stage 3 and Stage 4 sleep. “
So the stages of 3 and 4, the deepest sleep one would normally get, just don’t happen that much for us for one and what we do get is broken up to the point, to where it is nearly useless.
Then of course you have to toss in the idea of Insomnia:
“Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep on a regular basis with no apparent cause; un-refreshing sleep despite the ample opportunity to sleep”
Which doesn’t take the concept nearly far enough. As it fails to mention the fact, that a persons level of tiredness, has nothing whatsoever to do with their ability to get to sleep or stay asleep. We with FM generally do not fall asleep, as most people understand the word, we basically pass out. when the body has just flat run out of any more juice to run on.
Now, if all of those hours we spent awake, were productive time, it would not be so bad, I guess, but it is not. They are hours spent, with a fogged mind, a stumbling body, most often in pain and we could not think a cogent thought, if you paid us to.
Welcome to my world..