Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome that can manifest as pain in joints and other body parts. The condition mainly occurs in adults, predominantly women over eighteen. However, it has been known to affect children between one and seven percent. The pain can range from mild to severe. Understanding how to help a child with fibromyalgia sleep and cope with pain is key to a healthy lifestyle.
How to Improve Sleep for a Child With Fibromyalgia
The problem is that pain can make it harder to sleep, and the lack of sleep can then make the pain worse. The only thing parents can do is make sure the child gets quality sleep. Hence, we will explain how to improve sleep for a child with fibromyalgia.
Set a Strict Routine for Sleep
You need to make sure that your kid goes to sleep and wakes up simultaneously every day. This strict bedtime routine ensures that your kid gets enough to sleep every day. A routine will reset the body’s internal clock, too. As a result, your child will have an easier time falling asleep each night.
Additionally, you will need to restrict naps between sleep times. Usually, short naps don’t affect sleep too much. However, if the kid already has trouble falling asleep, napping during the day can make things worse. Hence, if your kid has trouble falling asleep, it would be best to avoid naps during the day.
No Sugar or Caffeine Before Bed
Giving kids sugar near bedtime is generally acknowledged as a bad idea. The last thing you need before bedtime is for them to get tons of energy, and the same goes for caffeine. That energy will hinder their ability to sleep. The issue is more severe for kids with fibromyalgia because they already have difficulty sleeping. Thus, you need to be especially careful about their sugar and caffeine intake before bedtime.
Get the Right Mattress
A good mattress is imperative for a good night’s sleep. Your child will need support so that there is no weight on their joints. One of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia is stiffness and pain, and these symptoms are similar to the stiffness and pain found in those with arthritis. Thus, it might be worth finding a mattress that is best for people with arthritis. Finding suitable mattresses will alleviate any pressure on your child’s joints, allowing them to get the support they need without any additional pain.
If the mattress cannot brace the kid’s body while sleeping, it will compensate by putting more pressure on the spine and joints. This additional pressure can lead to them waking up with pains and aches. You can get them a pillow designed to stabilize their neck and head while they sleep for additional support.
Bed = Sleep
You need to ensure that your kid is only using their bed to sleep. They should not lounge in bed to watch a movie, eat snacks, or do their work. While lounging in bed is comfy, it will affect your child’s nighttime routine. So long as they use their bed strictly for sleeping, their bodies will automatically associate that spot with sleep. Thus, they will have an easier time falling asleep at night.
Maintain a Suitable Temperature
The human body needs the temperature to be just right while sleeping. To ensure that your child sleeps peacefully throughout the night, make sure that the temperature is around 65°F. The room is cool enough that your child should have no trouble sleeping at this temperature.
At night, the human body tends to cool down, and this temperature helps with the process. If it’s too hot, the kid will have trouble staying asleep. Even if they do sleep, they will be restless the entire night. On the other hand, they will have trouble falling asleep if they are cold. Therefore, maintaining a suitable temperature will encourage healthy sleeping habits.
If there is noise at bedtime, your kid will have trouble falling and staying asleep. Even if they fall asleep, it will be a fitful sleep. Moreover, noise can subconsciously affect a person’s sleep and, ultimately, mental health. In this case, the noise will indirectly elevate your child’s pain.
To reduce noise during the night, put rugs and other shock-absorbent surfaces in the room. Additionally, you can insulate the windows so that external noises won’t come through. If your child uses a mobile, put it on silent mode during the night.
Darkness Is Your Friend
Your child may be afraid to sleep without a light on, but this unnecessary light can be detrimental to their health. You need to wean them off artificial light at bedtime slowly. The human body needs darkness to produce melatonin and drift into a deep sleep, and this deep sleep is essential for the body’s rejuvenation.
To help your child sleep, invest in light-blocking curtains. You also need to ensure no electronics in the room at bedtime. If it helps, you can start dimming the lights in your house as bedtime draws nearer.
How to Improve Sleep for a Child With Fibromyalgia
As hard as dealing with fibromyalgia can be for children, there are ways you can help them manage their pain. One of these ways is to ensure they get proper sleep. It may be a good idea to set up a whole nighttime routine with them for that purpose. This routine can consist of reading, bathing, meditating, or even having a skincare session.
By doing any of the above, their mind will recognize that it’s time to sleep, and thus they will have an easier time falling asleep. Moreover, this can be a bonding period for you and your child as you help them manage their condition.