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Doctor shares sleep secrets to help fibromyalgia patients

Lana Bandoim's picture
Fibromyalgia and sleep

Dr. Victor Rosenfeld believes sleep problems are a major issue for fibromyalgia patients, and he wants to help them. He recently conducted a study to determine how fibromyalgia patients could improve their sleep quality. Dr. Victor Rosenfeld specializes in neurology at the SouthCoast Medical Group in Georgia.


Dr. Victor Rosenfeld’s study, titled “Polysomnography with quantitative EEG in patients with and without fibromyalgia,” included a total of 385 patients. The study had 133 fibromyalgia patients and a control group. The researchers focused on the brain waves of the sleeping patients to monitor them.

“Even though people with fibromyalgia are technically asleep, their brain waves look more like they’re awake. In essence, people with fibromyalgia are pulling an all-nighter every single night,” Rosenfeld said.

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The study revealed that fibromyalgia patients have active alpha waves while they sleep. These brain waves should not appear during normal sleep patterns. Dr. Victor Rosenfeld believes that this may explain why patients who suffer from fibromyalgia frequently report fatigue and sleep problems. He also believes that the new sleep study may help diagnose patients.

Fibromyalgia has multiple symptoms, but quantitative EEG tests can provide a simpler way to diagnose patients. The tests analyze the brain waves and are often called brain mapping. Unfortunately, some insurance companies do not cover this simple test and consider it experimental and investigational.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “For people with fibromyalgia, the combination of pain and sleep disturbance is a double-edged sword: the pain makes sleep more difficult and sleep deprivation exacerbates pain. The good news is that reduction in sleep disturbance is usually followed by improvement in pain symptoms. This also highlights the importance of healthy sleep and to find a sleep professional in treating this disease. Medical researchers have long sought to clarify the association between sleep disturbance and pain. Very little is known but a few key findings indicate that sleep and pain are intricately linked.”

Read more about fibromyalgia:
Memantine drug shows promise for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia study focuses on brain stimulation to fight pain