Current treatments to counter sleep dysfunction as a pathogenic stimulus of fibromyalgia

Pain Manag. 2016 May;6(4):339-46. doi: 10.2217/pmt-2016-0009. Epub 2016 Jun 17.


Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue and nonrestorative sleep. Polysomnography showed reduced short-wave sleep and abnormal alpha rhythms during nonrapid eye movement sleep in patients with fibromyalgia. However, sleep dysfunction might be pathogenic in fibromyalgia since myalgia and fatigue could be induced in healthy individuals by disrupting sleep. Poor sleep quality was a major risk factor for the subsequent development of chronic widespread pain in healthy pain-free individuals. Sleep disruption leads to impairment of the descending pain inhibition pathways. Aside from good sleep, hygiene, exercise can promote sleep. Among currently available pharmacological treatments, evidence suggests amitriptyline and pregabalin can improve sleep in fibromyalgia.

Keywords: fibromyalgia; sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / complications*
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*