Skip to content

    Fibromyalgia Health Center

    Font Size

    WebMD Fibromyalgia Community: Fatigue and Fibromyalgia -- A Sleep Test Can Help

    By Ellen Greenlaw
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Fatigue that doesn’t go away is one of the most common fibromyalgia symptoms. In many cases, people with fibromyalgia wake up feeling more tired than when they went to bed.

    This was the case for one member of WebMD’s fibromyalgia community. She decided to have a sleep study to find out if sleep apnea was at the root of her fatigue. “As it turned out, I didn’t have it. However, I found out that the ‘inside muscles’ get tired too. So when I sleep my exhausted heart and lungs slow down so much that my brain doesn’t get enough oxygen … which means more fatigue,” she says. To help with the fatigue, she’s been using an oxygen supply when she sleeps, and it makes a big difference. Although it doesn’t improve her overall energy level, it does help with her brain function. “My brain is awake and alert instead of feeling too sleepy to function until noon,” she says. “So I would recommend that anyone battling constant fatigue get a sleep test done ASAP!”

    Recommended Related to Fibromyalgia

    Exercise Can Ease Fibromyalgia Pain

    Fibromyalgia is so difficult to diagnose that it can take years before patients understand what’s making their bodies ache. When Lynn Matallana began noticing unexplained pain and fatigue in 1993 -- “pain in every part of my body, pain that felt like acid in my veins” -- it took her nearly two years and 37 doctors before she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. In that time, the former partner in an advertising and public relations firm says, “I went from being an extremely active, high-functioning,...

    Read the Exercise Can Ease Fibromyalgia Pain article > >

    She also suggests that other community members ask their doctors about increasing their fibromyalgia medication during flare-ups that can add to daily fatigue. She increases the dose of her medication for three days during flare-ups and finds that it helps with fibromyalgia symptoms. “Be patient with your doctor. Everyone reacts differently to different medications and supplements. Don’t be afraid to tell him you need to try something different,” she says.

    As another way to deal with fibromyalgia muscle pain and fatigue, she recommends trying to keep your muscles as relaxed as possible. She finds using moist heat is one way to keep muscles relaxed. “Two hot showers -- at least 10 minutes -- a day are a must. One is not enough. Or you may prefer a soak in the tub,” she says. A hot shower the morning and then again before bed works best for her.

    Another woman notes that while her doctor warned her about getting overheated, a warm shower does help loosen her muscles and “gets my fingers working somewhat like fingers are supposed to.”

    Reviewed on January 18, 2011

    Today on WebMD

    instructor training woman with dumbbells
    Can it help your fibromyalgia flare-ups?
    woman painting
    It’s hard, but we’ve got tips.
    woman at desk rubbing shoulder
    Tips to modify your workspace is one step.
    Woman rubbing her upper back
    Get treatment options and coping skills.
    Fatigue or Something More
    Woman with stressed, fatigue
    woman in pain
    woman eating apple
    Sex Advice for Single Women
    Your Symptoms
    Uncomfortable mature woman