by Jody Smith
Thanks to the misleading name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the misunderstandings concerning sleep are numerous and contradictory. Those who are unfamiliar with ME/CFS often may conclude that we are sleepy all the time.
It doesn’t really work that way.
Some of us can’t sleep at all. Others sleep for long periods but never when they’d like to. Many of us lie helplessly awake all night longing for respite, only able to succumb to sleep as the dawn begins to break.
My own experience for a number of years was a reversal of the usual sleep-wake cycle. I rarely saw my family since I slept most of the daytime hours, only feeling a semblance of wakefulness after sunset.… Read More
Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia: Dr. Teitelbaum on Maximizing Sleep Prescriptions
Dr. Teitelbaum believes that getting a solid eight to ten hours of restful sleep is absolutely critical to the healing process in ME/CFS and may require taking as many as five or six different sleep aids. Since most of the side effects (and fewer of the benefits) come at higher doses, he believes patients can maximize their benefits by taking small amounts of several sleep aids at once. He states ‘the best way to need less medication in the long run is to take as much as it takes to get eight hours of solid sleep each night for six months” In order to find the optimal doses of sleep medications Dr.
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Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): Assessing Sleep – Sleep Studies
Dr. Levine, Klimas and Dr. Bateman have all endorsed sleep studies. In sleep studies patients are given a room to sleep in, hooked up to various machines and then monitored as they sleep. Because sleep studies can be expensive – costing as much as $2,000 – patients may wish to get preauthorization from their insurance company before doing one. A group of ME/CFS physicians recommended that the clinicians use a good sleep questionnaire (such as the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) to determine whether a sleep study would be effective. (If a sleep study is not feasible’ Dr.
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Alternative medications may be the first choice for chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) patients but they are often not effective enough. A panel of prominent ME/CFS doctors indicated that while they were open to the use of over-the-counter products such as melatonin, Benadryl and Tylenol, these products don’t usually provide enough relief. Prescription drugs may have some side effects but most doctors regard the tradeoff as acceptable.
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Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) throat passages become closed thus preventing normal airflows to the lungs (and brain). As the throat closes and oxygen levels decline the brain signals the throat muscles to contract and reopen the airway. Thankfully they do, letting the air rush in and usually causing a distinctive gasping sound. In some cases of obstructive sleep apnea this can happen hundred of times a night. The hallmark symptoms of OSA are excessive snoring punctuated by gasping sounds.
The constant partial wakening keeps the people with OSA from reaching the deeper, more restful stages of REM sleep.
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Many of these substances are designed to get you to relax enough so that you can more easily get to sleep and attain deeper sleep.
Bach Flower Rescue Remedy – A Bach Flower Essence calming tincture Rescue Remedy is called by its maker “Yoga in a Bottle”. Several ME/CFS patients have reported Rescue Remedy helped them to calm their systems down and improve their sleep. The tincture is recommended.
Muscle Relaxers - Several physicians recommend using natural muscle relaxers to get the body in the mood for going to sleep. Dr. Rosenbaum recommends calcium (600-800 mg)/magnesium (300-500mg).
GABA (500-1500 mg) – is an amino acid complex that turns down brain activity.… Read More