My hubby made a point this morning that I rarely toss and turn and thrash and twitch in bed anymore. This used to be a standard night for me, and I very rarely dreamed either. As we know, this points to a lack of deep, non-REM sleep, that lovely restorative sleep that so eludes us fibro sufferers. And I even had coffee yesterday…
A couple of things fell into place for me:
- during my last pregnancy, I was pretty much 0% fibro-free, but I did have a lot of restless leg (RL). It’s well known that pregnant women can be low on iron, and they’re often checked for anemia (but beware, the range for ‘healthy’ iron is so wide that you can actually be very low on iron and still not be classified as anaemic)
- research shows that RL can be attributed to low dopamine levels (read this and this one, interesting). Sorry for the overshare, but a bit of rumpus under the sheets with my OH (resulting in the big O) would immediately quell any restless leg, and I would sleep well. Orgasm = big rush of dopamine
- iron contributes to the production of dopamine (read this rather science-heavy article)
- coffee temporarily increases levels of dopamine in your brain – which is why it is oh-so addictive, and makes you feel that lovely high, but ultimately draws on your reserves, leaving them lower than when you started, and worsening your quality of sleep.
So! I started taking an iron supplement. No bad thing, given that I’m pregnant, I researched it carefully and chose this organic one by Viridian. I take it about 1-2 hours before bedtime, and although I might have a bit of RL as I settle down in bed, I do get to sleep easily, and I have had consistently crazy dreams, and a good chunk of non-REM sleep for the last 10 days.
So I would definitely recommend taking an iron supplement and eating more clams, shellfish & beef (organic, pasture-fed, if you can). More iron = more dopamine = less restless leg = better sleep. Simple.