Nightly ritual of chronic pain

I have known for a very, very long time that my migraines have had a lot to do with my crappy sleep cycle. For one thing, when things have changed in my life such that I was got even less sleep, as in I could not sleep in due to a specific job, then the migraines got more and more frequent. Such that over time I noticed with each of these sorts of changes the frequency just got quite a bit worse until they were daily. And the connection was the lack of sleep and the lack of quality sleep. Granted, once they were daily for years it has not seemed to make much of a difference what I do. Although a sleeping pill has helped a little in the sense I no longer get a migraine right in the morning. Well, my old sleeping pill. The new one does not work at all. Some just don’t with me.

Now why my sleeping is so poor was also obvious to me. It was because I have fibromyalgia. Although apparently people with hypomobility syndrome also have issues with insomnia, so maybe I get it from both ends. Either way FM, in particular, has an issue with unrefreshed sleep. I have also always had an issue with delayed onset insomnia.

So if someone were to ask me if I feel refreshed in the morning the answer would be No. And it would always have been no. I do not remember a time when it was a yes, if it ever was.

Apparently, if you have chronic migraines… this is a typical response. Painsomnia and insomnia and where the hell is the Sleep.

“A study at the University of North Carolina set out to see how women with chronic migraine felt in the mornings.  87.7% said they felt “tired”.  And – get this – 0% – not one – reported feeling “refreshed”.
Of course there are a lot of disorders related to “un-refreshed” sleep, such as ADHD, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, snoring – some of these things may cause it, some may be made worse by it.  One study found that feeling refreshed by sleep was an important predictor of psychological well-being (mental health) in men.  No doubt it’s the same for women.

First, it could mean you have another disorder that is keeping you from getting good sleep, and therefore making your migraine and/or headache symptoms worse.  For example, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or grinding your teeth.  Taking too many “painkillers” could also interrupt your normal patterns of work and rest.
It could also be that you simply have bad sleep habits.  You watch spend time on your tablet watching movies in bed.  You drink too much coffee late in the day.  You’re not letting go of the stresses and concerns of the day, but working through them at all hours.  You consistently go to bed late.
If you’re feeling tired in the morning – I don’t just mean groggy, but you wake up un-refreshed and tired – you should talk to your doctor.
And no, taking sleeping pills for the rest of your life is not the answer.  Your doctor will try to find out if there are other symptoms or conditions that are keeping you from sleep.  There are excellent questionnaires and simple tests that will point her in the right direction, and if need be she can call for a sleep test (polysomnography).
She can also help you with behavioural sleep modification (BSM), which will help you learn how to get more quality sleep.” Headache and migraine news

Yes, it could indeed mean another sleeping comorbid disorder that needs to be managed. Or it could be the pain, also that. I listed a link to sleep hygiene at the bottom of the article and they are all the things you do to help you sleep well at night. Just the general things they tell you when you have insomnia before they consider medications- lifestyle things.

People with fibromyalgia for example often have comorbid sleep issues like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome that should be looked into and treated. Also, their primary sleeping issues should be treated as well. That does not necessarily mean sleeping medication. It usually means medication that has a side effect of drowsiness like trazodone. But sometimes it does mean sleep medication long-term because our sleep issues are part of our syndrome and I have had them for over thirty years. I’ve been told even it is hard to retrain a brain that has habitually been an insomniac since childhood and worse since their teens. I do everything they say and try everything and nothing even dents it. All I get is very severe sleep deprivation and as you know… that means very severe morning migraines.

Obviously, good sleep habits are also important. Those are the very first things we do when we have chronic insomnia. I ran through those when I was a teenager. Then again in my early twenties. Then again, and again. Also meditation. Self-hypnosis. Hypnosis (can’t be apparently).

Tests to rule out things like sleep apnea are also important. Had that done. Don’t have sleep apnea.

The problem is I Do have fibromyalgia. And chronic migraines. And pain. And delayed onset insomnia. And that means by myself I have a lot of trouble sleeping at night. Best case scenario, no pain except the usual fibromyalgia I get around five to four hours. Add in a migraine and that will decrease sometimes to nothing. Add in a status migraine and guaranteed there will be some no sleep days in there. What ends up happening is sleep deprivation. More status migraines. More waking up with migraines.

A sleeping pill really helps with that. My old one which I will have to go back on it seems, gives me about five hours, on a moderate pain night. Helps so that I do not wake up with migraines, gives me a bit of a pain gap in there. Unless it is a continuous migraine from the previous night of course, which happens, especially on nights where I have had very little sleep. And with a sleeping pill, I get enough sleep so that I am not severely sleep-deprived… so no severe morning migraines. And no sleep paralysis several times a night as well.

So no sleeping pill is not the answer for most people. But for some people, it is a good answer I believe. Sometimes we have some serious sleep problems complicated by a lot of pain. I mean, that sleeping pill I was on should knock a person out of 8 hours, not 5, or less. And the one I just have been trying… should work really quickly, and it does not work at all. So I have some serious sleep issues with pain. And pain is a daily event. I’m just saying some of us are very complicated when it comes to sleep and pain… and sleep is Necessary and sometimes that means medications.

See more on sleep

Sleep hygiene and insomnia

Sleep disturbances and fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia and sleep

Buy Me a Coffee at

I use one of these for naps on the couch or when I use an ice pack with a migraine and Need Darkness. In the bedroom not so much because I have the blackout curtains.

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