Night Sweats and Fibromyalgia
Since sharing the news about Harbor Luxury Bedding now carrying Wicked Sheets on their online store, we’ve learned more about founder, Susan Focke, and her journey to conquer better sleep by combatting night sweats and fibromyalgia.
As a reminder, fibromyalgia is a syndrome that affects the muscles and soft tissue. Symptoms include chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger points, which can be relieved through medications, lifestyle changes and stress management. We are specifically interested in the sleep aspects of this syndrome, because we believe that cooler sleep leads to better, more restorative sleep. Not to mention that a lot of our customers who tell us about their conditions say that sleeping on a softer, smoother sheet allows them to slide in and out of the bed easier.
In an interview earlier this month, we asked Susan to talk more about current treatments for fibromyalgia, along with any advice that she might share with someone else experiencing the numerous side effects of the condition. Here’s what Susan had to say:
What are the go-to treatments for Fibromyalgia? Medicine, Exercise, Lifestyle changes? How do night sweats and fibromyalgia impact you?
“Treatment for me has been a combination of pain and sleep medications, along with supplements. I have also discovered that regular massage, chiropractic care, gentle exercise, hot tub soaks, and tempering my ‘do it all’ personality type, have been the best solutions for me.
It’s very common for Fibro patients to try a multitude of medications or coping methods before finding the right combination of comfort and relief. It is very different for each patient – which makes it hard to treat. Many must change their medications as time goes on and as the efficacy of their medications change. Then…a new search begins.”
What are the side effects of Fibromyalgia treatments?
“I tested many medications for pain, sleep, inflammation, arthritis and then anything new that would come onto the market that advertised as a ‘New Treatment for Fibromyalgia’. Nothing ever solved all of the aches and pains I was having. If it wasn’t my leg or foot, it was my back and neck, sometimes I even felt like my hair hurt!
During this time, I also developed pernicious anemia, high blood pressure, a thyroid condition, high cholesterol, and a blood condition that I learned could later develop into bone cancer. I was overwhelmed with the solutions that the medical community was giving me and how many different ‘diagnoses’ I was given in that short of a period while I was really searching for the one answer…Fibromyalgia.
Having had a hysterectomy a few years before my diagnosis, I was also faced with zero to low estrogen production, to which my doctor recommended me having Estrogen Replacement Therapy. From that point on, I was always the hottest person in the room. I was overheated no matter where I was, inside or out.
I slept with one leg and one arm uncovered, as I even thought my flat sheets were too hot. I was hot and sweaty no matter the weather conditions or the temperature. I kept our A/C at 69 degrees during the day and 67 degrees at night. My poor family was freezing. And on top of it all…I was crying all the time from all that estrogen in the ERT (estrogen replacement therapy). Can you imagine how that felt? I went from a seemingly ‘healthy person’ on no meds and with an active lifestyle, to a ‘sick person’ who cried all the time and now was purchasing pill organizers so that I wouldn’t miss a dose of whatever was going to make me sleep that night.” Night sweats and fibromyalgia can cause significant impediments to sleep.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone with a new Fibromyalgia diagnosis?
“First and foremost,…sleep quality and sleep quantity! I believe that non-restorative sleep is the number one problem that needs to be addressed at the patient’s first physician appointment. I don’t know of one Fibromyalgia patient who doesn’t have underlying sleep problems or a sleep disorder. I feel confident saying that most physician’s aren’t working fast enough after the initial diagnosis to put together a sleep plan for the patient.
Creating your own positive sleep environment is key to ensuring a restful and restorative night’s sleep. For me, a cool, dark bedroom coupled with cool, soft sheets is ideal and I’ve also switched to a Sleep Number mattress that has an additional 3” memory foam topper. It’s supportive in all the right places.
The first year of living with Fibromyalgia is the hardest, simply because you’re changing medications constantly and going through those ‘I’ll try anything to help with the pain’ moments. I don’t know if I would have made it through those first couple of months, even, without soaking in Epsom salt, baking soda, and lavender essential oil baths.
But the most important thing after sleep is to BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. Every patient is different which means so are their symptoms, so be prepared for some trial and error and ALWAYS DO YOUR RESEARCH before and after meeting with a physician.”
What’s your favorite quote about sleep?
“A good laugh and a long sleep will cure anything.”
Night sweats and fibromyalgia often go hand-in-hand, but we’re here to help you sleep better. Sleep well, sleep wicked.