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Fibromyalgia and Alpha-Delta Sleep

Posted May 14 2009 2:00pm

One of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia is sleep disorder. Fibromyalgia patients can have more than one of these diagnosable sleep disorders. The most common sleep disorders are:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Another common sleep disturbance is known as alpha-delta sleep and is found in many people with chronic pain disorders.

Alpha-Delta Sleep

Alpha-delta intrusions refer to a type of brainwave that most people don’t have. When a person is relaxed but awake, their brainwaves are called alpha waves. Delta brainwaves occur when we are in the deepest stages of sleep. To make things simple, let’s say that alpha means ‘awake’ and delta means ‘asleep’. Unfortunately alpha waves can sometimes creep into sleep and get all mixed up with our nice delta brainwaves, creating a mish-mash of sleep and wakefulness!

While it is not known exactly why this happens, the presence of alpha (awake) brainwaves in our sleep can be detrimental to our daytime functioning. Often a person will not feel refreshed or well rested after a night of alpha-delta sleep.

These disorders can develop at any time. A certain amount of fatigue is normal in fibromyalgia patients, but if you have a high level of fatigue, or if your level of fatigue suddenly changes, it’s definitely something to talk to your doctor about. Getting proper treatment for sleep disorders can make a huge difference in how you feel.

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