The First Symptom: Sleep
“If you don’t get a good nights sleep you’re not going to get well. It really is that simple”. Dr. Murphee
The First Symptom
Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) doctors appear to be in universal agreement of the importance of getting as good a night’s sleep as possible. Dr. Bested simply says “Restoring sleep is essential for improving your health.
Dr. Bateman, Dr. Bested, Dr. Klimas and Dr. Teitelbaum all agree that sleep is the first symptom they treat. Dr. Bested points out that “improving sleep, even a little, can make a tremendous difference to a person’s [...] quality of life” and emphasizes: “you need to do everything possible to encourage your body to get the best sleep it can every night.”
“The most effective way to eliminate fatigue and pain in CFS/FMS is to get eight to nine hours of solid, deep sleep each night on a regular basis.” Dr. Teitelbaum
Many of the problems associated with chronic fatigue syndrome such as body pain, fatigue, depression, irritability, headache and gastrointestinal problems are classic symptoms of sleep deprivation. We know that chronic fatigue syndrome is not simply a sleep disorder – it’s far more complex than that – but it’s also clear that many ME/CFS symptoms are exacerbated by poor sleep.
Studies have shown that a few nights of poor sleep result in increased sensitivity to pain and increased fatigue – two key elements of CFS and FM. This suggests that poor sleep could set the stage for both disorders.
Studies also suggest that to 20% of chronic fatigue syndrome patients may not have ME/CFS at all but an identifiable and treatable sleep disorder that could be uncovered during the proper testing (that is, a ‘sleep study’).
- Sleep hygiene
- Alternative therapies
- Prescription drugs
- Sleep apnea
- Doing a sleep study
- Sleep resources