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Fibromyalgia & Daylight Saving

Spring Time Change Background

This coming Saturday night the clocks will move forward one hour, which means that we all lose one hour of sleep. If you’re a fibromyalgia sufferer this means you’re probably thinking, “oh no, here we go again.”

Most people that are aware of fibromyalgia will usually think of it as a disorder characterised primarily by chronic pain, and to a great extent this is the case. However, as this poll on a health forum indicates, for the vast majority of sufferers, it also has a profound effect on sleep patterns. It either keeps them awake at night, or causes them to have trouble waking, which leaves them tired the next day.

This is why something as simple as the arrival of Daylight Saving can leave fibromyalgia sufferers with a feeling of dread. If you’ve spent a lot of time getting yourself into a good sleep routine this sudden loss of an hours sleep can throw everything off and you have to start again. The sudden change can be a brutal tug on sleep patterns and if you’ve had a bad night, it can leave you feeling like you can barely move the next day.

This is a problem as doctors agree that fibro patients must maintain excellent sleep hygiene to minimise their symptoms. They must get to bed at the same time every night and spend as long as they need sleeping. If they have to get up at a certain hour every day, this means getting to bed early enough so that they get the sleep they need. The change to Daylight Savings time means that this pattern will automatically be thrown out.

So what’s the solution? The ideal approach is to prepare as best you can for the clocks changing and ease your body into it. In the run up to the change, go to bed earlier in 15 minute increments each night up to the one hour, so that when the change happens your body clock isn’t overly jarred.

If you haven’t been able to do this then you could simply try and sleep in on the Sunday. Having the clocks change on a Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) is done for a reason at least.

If that’s also a no-go, or your body won’t let you, then you can try and have a nap the next afternoon. Take care not to overdo this though, as if it stops you from getting to sleep that evening it could cause more problems than it solves.

For a real-life account of one fibro patient’s attempt to deal with the clock change take a look at this blog here.

Once you’re over the pain of the clock change however, then you should look at Daylight Saving Time as a positive thing. The arrival of spring brings bright fresh mornings, birds chirping and colour to the streets as the flowers bloom – it can literally put a spring in your step.

These extra daylight hours can keep SAD disorders at bay and give you more time in which to exercise, which is very useful. As we discussed here, daily light aerobic activity can have a number of benefits, such as keeping stiffness and pain at bay and helping to trigger a better emotional state, all of which can help you to sleep better at night.

So with a bit of preparation and a sensible use of the extra hours of light, you can minimise the effect of Daylight Saving on your ‘fibro-fog’, enabling you to enjoy life a little bit more.

Do you have any tips or experiences of how the clocks changing affects your Fibromyalgia? We’d love to hear from you. Do let us know in the comments below.

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

 

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