Iowa Sleep Blog

Sleeping Well with Muscle and Nerve Disorders

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

There is nothing more frustrating than lying awake at night, unable to sleep. It’s even more frustrating when your body experiences aches and pains that are keeping you awake, such as pains from Fibromyalgia or Parkinson’s disease.


Fibromyalgia is the widespread pain and stiffness in muscles and joints that can be uncomfortable when trying to sleep or relax. This tends to affect middle aged women, but individuals of all ages and genders can be diagnosed. Symptoms includes a specific kind of pain that feels like a dull ache in muscles on both sides of your upper and lower body, experiencing “tender points” throughout your body, such as the back of your head, the outside of your elbows or the insides of the knees and developing migraine headaches. Fibromyalgia is commonly mistaken for restless leg syndrome, as the sensations can be strikingly similar. In fact, studies have shown that 33 percent of people with fibromyalgia also had restless leg syndrome.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes a loss of cells in the part of the brain that controls movement, causing a range of symptoms such as tremors, shakes, rigidity, slow movements and problems with balance and coordination that worsen over time. Common primarily in middle-aged men, many who are diagnosed have a family member who had the disease, but it can also be idiopathic, making it difficult to find diagnoses patterns. Individuals with Parkinson’s experience a range of sleep problems, such as insomnia, sleep apneas, and excessive daytime sleepiness. These disorders can also be an early sign of Parkinson’s.

Tips for Sleeping

If you or someone you know suffers from fibromyalgia or Parkinson’s disease, here are a couple tips to help promote a better night’s sleep:

  • Create a sleep environment – Pain can intensify from loud sounds or noises, so be sure to keep things relaxed and quiet. If you have Parkinson’s, consider using satin sheets or PJs to make getting in and out of bed easier.
  • Exercise – Be sure to move around throughout the day. Even standing up every 20 minutes can make a difference.
  • Get outside – Spending time outdoors can help stabilize melatonin levels and keep your circadian rhythm on track throughout the day so you’ll naturally feel tired come bedtime.
  • Massage therapy – Getting a quick massage or sitting in a warm bath before bed can help relax jumpy muscles and promote relaxation throughout your body.

Sleeping is an essential function the body needs to operate at its highest level. For more information on sleeping better each night, contact our doctors at Iowa Sleep. We are dedicated to improving your sleep habits so you can get a better night’s rest.