GUEST POST: BETH URMSTON - TRIED AND TESTED SOLUTIONS FOR A BETTER NIGHT'S SLEEP WITH CHRONIC PAIN AND INSOMNIA

I am 57 and have Fibromyalgia and ME. Fibromyalgia has been with me most of my life and by the time I was finally diagnosed in 2011, I was practically housebound.

I started a free online magazine to help others who were either suffering with chronic pain conditions such as FM/ME/CFS, or those who cared for, worked with or just wanted to know more about these conditions.

Insomnia and sleep deprivation are always going to be deeply linked for those who suffer with chronic pain.

It is therefore extremely important that we, as chronic pain sufferers do everything we can to ensure we get the most refreshing night’s sleep we can.

As with all things in life, there is no “one size fits all” remedy and it is worth exploring as many solutions as we can to improve our quality of sleep.

So what should you start with?

The first thing worth looking into, is getting a blood test done via your GP, in order to get your magnesium levels checked. Reduced magnesium levels have been proven to be a cause of insomnia, which is something I only discovered very recently.

Magnesium does have a direct correlation with what you eat and whilst your diet may already incorporate magnesium rich foods (such as leafy greens, oily fish and bananas), your body may not store magnesium properly, thus leading to a rapid depletion.

What else should be looked into?

Stress: the stress of not being able to get to sleep can in itself cause us to remain awake, tossing and turning. Instead of trying to force ourselves into sleep, it may help to consider relaxation. Laying back, with eyes closed and just focusing on breathing is better than trying to keep reading or focusing on the television or computer. Rest can also help us re-energise.

Music for relaxation: Classical music is not to everyone’s taste and for some, pan pipes will have you reaching for the ear plugs! Youtube is a great source for music to relax with or for meditation. Again, it is finding what works best for you.

There are many other options to explore but from personal experience, these tips have been the most helpful. Regardless of the option you choose, remember to stick to it for at least a couple of weeks before deciding whether they work or not.