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Sleep Deprivation and Fibromyalgia Linked

By Susan Cody HERWriter Guide
 
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Photo: Getty Images

EmpowHER frequently talks with women who are living as best they can with fibromyalgia or sleep problems. Often, they suffer from both, and a new study from Norway proposes that there is a strong link between the two.

In fact, results from the study show that women with sleep disorders are three times more likely to develop fibromyalgia than women who sleep well. Nine out of ten fibromyalgia patients are female.

The study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim, wasn't clear-cut as to the exact relationship between troubled sleep and fibromyalgia. But sleep disorders have been linked to inflammation and overall body pain and discomfort -- the same symptoms seen in fibromyalgia sufferers.

What is unknown is exactly which condition is causing the other. Is lack of sleep contributing to fibromyalgia or does fibromyalgia cause sleep disorders? From this study, it would appear that sleep disorders may be coming first.

EmpowHER's Fibromyalgia page lists several causes of Fibromyalgia :

■Generalized fatigue or tiredness

■Reduced physical endurance

■Generalized aches and pains of muscles, tendons, and ligaments

■Muscle tightening or spasms

■ Pain in specific areas of the body, especially:
◦Neck
◦Shoulders
◦Chest
◦Back (upper and lower)
◦Hips and thighs

■Insomnia or poor sleep

The Danish study began in the 1980s and included nearly 12,500 women. In the beginning of the study, none of the women had any fibromyalgia symptoms at all. About a decade later, approximately 3 percent had developed symptoms and those who had reported sleep difficulties at the start of the study (about one-third) were the ones who went on to develop fibromyalgia.

Interestingly, while younger women were three times more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia, women over the age of 45 with sleep problems were five times more likely.

Join EmpowHER's Fibromyalgia Support Group here: http://www.empowher.com/groups/fibromyalgia

SOURCES:

Health.com via CNN.com. Sleep problems triple women's risk of developing fibromyalgia. Web. Nov 15th, 2011.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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