Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Insomnia – Want More Sleep?


You might ask “how do you get more sleep with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” to help you fight the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptom of insomnia?

In order to fight the INSOMNIA caused by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and stay awake during the daylight hours, you need to sleep a lot. At night that is, but the one thing standing between you and your desire to get the most sleep you can is your own medical condition CFS. If you combat the INSOMNIA the cycle may result in you achieving more sleep.

Read this article to the end to fully understand the CFS condition and how it interacts with Insomnia…


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Insomnia

The relationship between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Insomnia actually overlap, which creates significant complications for those trying to treat the condition.

Insomnia is among the symptoms used to help diagnose CFS. However, the daytime fatigue that always accompanies CFS is, in turn, a by-product of Insomnia. Try and wrap your head around that.

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is not something the ordinary man talks about that often on the street. That is because humans have this uncanny state of denial when it comes to medical matters. This is often compounded by an irrational fear of knowing what it is that is contributing to your health-related problems.

CFS is associated with extreme fatigue, the kind that would likely spark fear in most people who have been considered healthy for most of their lives. The one glaring reality is that doctors and medical practitioners do not know as much about this medical condition as they would hope to.

The investigations are still ongoing. Some say the causes are somehow viral, while others point to what could be a condition that is somehow psychological in nature. Others will argue that it is a combination of both.

Whatever the cause, the fatigue itself can actually be treated and should be treated. Do not ignore it. It is probably important to note that there is no cure for this condition though. Do not let anyone convince you otherwise…well unless you are dealing with a doctor.

The medication you take will likely do nothing more than merely ease the symptoms that you are confronted by. One of those symptoms is that you actually aren’t getting enough sleep at night, which creates fatigue during the day. Do not let this confuse you.

An aspect that is sometimes taken for granted under circumstances like this is that the failure to get in a good night’s sleep can actually contribute significantly to you feeling sleepy during the course of the day.

That fatigue you feel during the day is the form of sleepiness you need to try and avoid because it has a significant impact on your daily life and work.

So, while it might feel like we are heading off on some kind of tangent here, the two aspects are actually very closely related and that is an aspect which should not be ignored.


Who Actually Gets Chronic Fatigue?

Now there is a question.

The doctors at Johns Hopkins Medicine confirm two things for us. The first is that they do not really know what causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So, not only do we not know how to cure it but we don’t know how people actually get it. That is a serious complication when combating a medical condition.

The only clear indicators they have on who is at risk of contracting chronic fatigue include age and gender. That is honestly not telling us much either. They have established that women contract chronic fatigue four times more often than men do.

They have also established that most people who are diagnosed with chronic fatigue are of middle age. Even making that diagnosis proves to be an enormous undertaking for patients and doctors alike. Sometimes it takes in the region of six months to be absolutely sure that somebody has chronic fatigue.

Even that six-month examination is not always enough. Other medical conditions will naturally need to be ruled out after those six months and patients need to display at least four symptoms before anybody can be absolutely sure that they have chronic fatigue.

As you can imagine, this presents a genuine risk in that people can easily get tired of constantly monitoring their health to establish what is actually wrong with them. It is tempting to not go through the whole process at all until your health deteriorates to a point of no return.

The other harsh reality one is faced with is that preventing chronic fatigue and insomnia associated with it can be near-impossible because nobody has a firm handle on what actually causes it.

Treating Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The stark reality is that there is no actual cure for CFS. The investigations into that are still ongoing. However, there are definite symptoms and doctors have established that managing the condition hinges heavily on your capacity to handle the symptoms that are associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Among the more glaring Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms are:-

  • extreme sensitivity to light
  • headaches
  • tender lymph nodes
  • fatigue and weakness
  • muscle and joint pain
  • the inability to concentrate
  • forgetfulness
  • mood swings
  • confusion
  • low-grade fever
  • depression
  • insomnia

Treating all of those symptoms eventually comes into the equation, when trying to combat this condition. However, the one Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptom that probably requires more attention than the others is that little thing called insomnia.

That is because insomnia itself exacerbates the effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, especially during the course of the day. It is logical that if you are not recording any quality sleep at night, you will struggle to remain alert during the day.

Your entire health will be put in jeopardy because of it.

However, a closer analysis also reveals that things like extreme sensitivity to light, tender lymph nodes, muscle, and joint pain and even low-grade fever will all contribute to insomnia. All of those symptoms are directly related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

That is to say, the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome actually contributes to itself getting worse. Wrap your head around that vicious cycle.

Because all of those symptoms contribute to insomnia, the key for any doctor treating a patient with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is to attack insomnia itself. Well, it is half the task completed anyway.

Treat Insomnia to Combat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

When you have a flare of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the one glaring symptom is that you battle to get in a good night’s sleep. This is complicated by a strong element of fatigue and muscle pain, which could prove to be a monstrous combination.

The first port of call is to focus on getting your regular sleep first and that will require something like antihistamines or sleep aids. You can normally get those over the counter. However, sometimes you will need something a little stronger than that.

Drugs that come to mind are things like Lunesta, Rozerem, and Ambien. This is sleep medication, stuff that helps you get quality sleep. However, you are taking it to help avoid feeling sleepy during the day. It is a technique used to fight chronic fatigue.

You can add muscle relaxers, Trazodone or any other antidepressants to that list. All of this will help you produce or record a quality night of sleep.

The other catch here is that some of these drugs might create some form of daytime drowsiness too.

You and your doctor will ultimately need to weigh up which is more important. Combating chronic fatigue or dealing with a little drowsiness?

So critical is the treatment of insomnia – in the campaign against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – that an advanced study has actually been done to further examine the role that insomnia plays in the treatment of this horrible condition.

The researchers involved in the project – Håvard Kallestad, Henrik B.Jacobsen, Nils Inge Landrø, Petter C.Borchgrevink, Tore C.Stiles – sought to establish the extent to which insomnia could actually contribute to the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In addition to that, they also wanted to confirm that a decrease in insomnia actually reduced the level of fatigue in patients grappling with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Now, there is a hormone called cortisol. It is commonly referred to as a bad stress hormone. Too much of that hormone in your body will definitely have an adverse effect. However, associated with the bad is good.

The thing about cortisol – which is produced in the adrenal glands – is that it is directly related to your circadian rhythm. Well, its release follows that circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm, as we have already established many times on this website, is your natural sleep-wake cycle.

In addition to that, it contributes positively to mood and memory retention. As we established earlier in this particular article, mood swings and the inability to concentrate were two of the symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The researchers also examined if the decrease in insomnia would result in an increase in cortisol levels.

Finally, they wanted to establish if the targeting of insomnia in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome would contribute to improved health, at the very least. The study produced positive positive results in all of the above aspects.

It is clearer than ever, that if you manage to combat insomnia, you will mitigate the impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Insomnia - Want More Sleep?

Other Ways to Fight Chronic Fatigue

Perhaps, the more reasonable and understandable treatment option will be to run with some stimulants instead and not directly address one of the causes of your chronic fatigue (which is the poor quality of sleep in the evenings).

There are those among us who need to be treated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is sometimes suggested that the drugs used to treat that condition can be used to treat those grappling with this chronic fatigue business.

Among them are Ritalin, Dextroamphetamine, Tenex, Vyvanse, and Strattera.

They are all some form of stimulant, which will help combat the fatigue. Because they are all serious stimulants, there is also the distinct possibility that the person taking them will burn out quicker than he/she had expected.

That sometimes presents a scenario where the person being treated for fatigue finds him/herself back at square one. That is to say, when you have burned out, you will once again be grappling with some form of fatigue, which will then feel counter-productive.

That is why it remains important to discuss these matters with your doctor, to properly assess the positives and negatives of taking the prescribed medication.

Off the cuff, the recommendation is that you take these stimulants in relatively low doses because of the long-term impact they can have on the patient.

Pain Relief When You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Another common symptom of CFS is a problem with the joints, in addition to the muscle-related issues. Pain relievers like Ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol can come in handy under those circumstances.

So, just to be clear, we have gone full circle on this again. The muscle and joint problems are what make it difficult for you to sleep when you should be sleeping (at night).

When you do not record quality sleep when you should be sleeping, you then find yourself feeling fatigued during the course of the day.

In other words, you start feeling sleepy during the day, which then hampers productivity. In order to avoid feeling sleepy during the day or in order to prevent sleep during the day, you need to get a quality quota of sleep at night.

Another way you can look at avoiding sleep when you are feeling fatigued (during the day) is by taking drugs like Florinef, Midodrine and Inderal. Once again, please make sure your doctors are involved with every step of this complicated process. This is not a dance.

Finally, many people find themselves fighting to stay awake because they are dealing with a serious case of depression. This happens at night and during the day. Depressed people are constantly fatigued and sleep always seems to beckon for them.

The natural response to that is to take some form of antidepressant, which not only helps treat the mind but it helps keep you fresh and alert when the situation demands it of you.

Side Note

For the most part, drugs and other forms of medication make you feel drowsy and it is often advised that you take them outside of busy or work hours, when you can’t afford to operate at lower than optimum level.

However, there are also some drugs that can be taken as stimulants.

Working with medical practitioners for the optimum outcome when using pain relievers is alway best practice.

Final Thoughts – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Insomnia – Want More Sleep?

Insomnia is a very serious condition in itself but when you suffer from CFS as well it very important that you seek treatment – studies show that combating insomnia in the long run help with other symptoms of this condition.

The upside is that if you can follow some of the strategies outlined above you stand a great chance (along with over 60 million other Americans) of getting more sleep and along the way hopefully alleviating some of the symptoms of CFS.

By Michelle D.

Meet Michelle, founder of Tip Top Sleep, a website dedicated to helping you achieve the best sleep possible. With over 50 years of combined experience in the realm of sleep, Michelle and her team provide easy-to-follow tips and strategies to help you feel better, function better, and live better through optimal sleep. Let us help you prioritize your sleep and discover the power of a good night's rest.