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Environment & Habits

Most people with CFS/FM can improve their sleep by changing their sleep habits and their sleep environment by matching a solution to a problem. Common problems include:  

  • Irregular hours for going to bed or getting up / no schedule
  • Noisy environment (including snoring by sleep partner)
  • Lack of control over light and temperature
  • Uncomfortable bed  
  • Tension and worry
  • Not allowing time to wind down
  • Eating or drinking caffeinated products too close to bedtime
Have a Comfortable Environment
Provide yourself with an environment conducive to good sleep by using a good mattress, and by exercising control over light, noise and temperature. Note: Noise includes snoring by your sleep partner. If that's your situation, it may be necessary to use separate bedrooms.
Establish a Routine 
Go through the same routine each night and have a consistent bedtime. Prepare for sleep by gradually reducing your activity level in the several hours before bedtime, which may include limiting hours of TV and computer use, and by having a regular routine you go through consistently at the same time each night. Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
Use Relaxation and Distraction
If you find it difficult to fall asleep, consider listening to quiet music or distracting yourself in some other way. If you are still unable to sleep, get up and engage yourself with quiet activities such as reading or listening to soft music or relaxation tapes until you are sleepy. 

Watching TV, using the computer and playing electronic games all tend to make people more alert, rather than sleepy, so should be avoided if falling back asleep is your goal.
Control Stress and Worry 
Stress often leads to muscle tension, which makes falling asleep more difficult. Practicing relaxation methods can help. Also, if you are preoccupied with problems, consider setting aside time before going to bed to write down all your worries and what you'll do about them. 

Other ways to deal with anxiety include not looking at the clock and not worrying about insomnia. To combat worry, reassure yourself, for example by repeating Dr. Lapp’s saying that quiet rest is almost as good as sleep.
Get Up at the Same Time 
If you are going to bed later and later, setting an alarm so that you get up at the same time each day can help you adjust gradually back to more normal hours.
Use Pacing 
Being too active during the day or early evening can create a sense of restlessness called feeling “tired but wired.” Keeping activity within limits and having a winding down period before going to bed are antidotes.
Limit Daytime Napping 
If you find that napping during the day makes it more difficult to fall asleep at night or your sleep is worse than usual when you take naps, consider sleeping only at night. On the other hand, if napping does not disturb your nighttime sleep, that may be a sign that you need more sleep.
Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol & Tobacco 
Consuming too much caffeine, drinking alcohol and smoking can each make getting good rest more difficult.

Check for Medication Side Effects
Many drugs affect sleep or create sleep-related problems. For example, drugs can produce a feeling of grogginess in the morning. Also, some medications contain substances such as caffeine that interfere with sleep.