Chronic poor sleep is the beginning of fibromyalgia. Sure chronic pain and even fatigue get all the press, but poor sleep is the real nail in the coffin for fibromyalgia.
Poor sleep leads to more pain, inflammation, brain fog, depression, fatigue, headaches, IBS, RLS, weight gain, and other health robbing symptoms.
Melatonin is the primary hormone of the pineal gland and acts to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, especially the sleep/wake cycle. When administered in pharmacological doses (1-3mgs), melatonin acts as a powerful sleep-regulating agent that controls the circadian rhythm.
The same area of the brain that releases melatonin also regulates the happy hormone serotonin. Serotonin helps to produce melatonin. If you are deficient in serotonin, you’ll also be deficient in melatonin (can’t sleep). If you’re low in serotonin, I recommend you start taking 300mg 5HTP before beginning melatonin therapy.
Melatonin is affected by a person’s exposure to light. Melatonin levels start to rise as the sun goes down and drop off as the sun comes up. The retina (eyes) are extremely sensitive to changes in light. An increase in light that strikes the retina triggers a decrease in melatonin production. Conversely, limited exposure to light increases melatonin production. This explains why some individuals suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What Can Decrease Melatonin Levels?
Chronic stress and depletion of stress coping chemicals including serotonin, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP)• exposure to bright lights at night
• exposure to electromagnetic fields
• NSAIDs (Celebrex, Vioxx, Mobic, Alleve, Bextra,etc.)
• SSRIs, yes the very same antidepressants that many take for FMS, including Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Lexapro.
• anxiety meds (benzodiazepines) like Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, Restoril, etc.
• anti-hypertensive meds (beta-blockers, adrenergics, and calcium channel blockers) including, Inderal, Toprol, Tenormin, Lorpressor, etc.
• over 3 mg. of vitamin B12 in a day.
• evening exercise (for up to three hours afterwards)
Instead of addressing the cause, countless pharmaceuticals have been created to treat the symptoms of these conditions (many based on serotonin, the very hormone that is dependent upon producing your natural sleep hormone melatonin). Most patients are taking sleep drugs that don’t promote deep restorative sleep (benzodiazepines-Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Seroquel, etc.) and don’t ever feel rested.
Popular prescriptions for insomnia have recently made headlines due to “Risk of Death”. The following are only some that have been named:
A recent article on FOX News.com stated,
“People who took more than 132 pills a year were not only five times more likely to die, but were also at greater risk of developing several types of cancer, and 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with any type of cancer, overall”
In the UK, the following was said in an eye opening article;
”Experts have warned that sleeping pills prescribed in the UK could increase the risk of death more than four-fold.”
also finding that…
The list of drugs used for treating anxiety is almost endless, however some of the more popular include:
Dr. Peter Bongiorno, naturopath, wrote an interesting article in Psychology Today. He states,
“These anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications are among the most prescribed in the United States – and possibly the most dangerous. According to a report in the 2010 Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, people who use anti-anxiety medication have a 36% increased mortality risk. That means persons using these drugs are almost 40% more likely to die than people who do not use them…”
Treat The Cause Not The Symptoms
Poor sleep can and must be corrected preferably with natural supplements which correct the cause, low serotonin and or melatonin. Sleep drugs potentially create more problems and often lead to other drugs. For an in-depth discussion on sleep, sleep meds, and natural remedies please see my book Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. http://store.drmurphreestore.com/trandbefiand.html