Leading expert in Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and Hormonal Disorders, Dr. Andrew Petersen joined us on the show today to talk about these problems.
How do you help yourself if you suffer from fatigue?
We highly recommend enough good quality sleep as one of the single most important things you can do yourself. Because so many people with chronic fatigue are generally high achievers and lead a busy lifestyle, they neglect sleep to get more things done, late at night is the only time they have to spend with their significant other, we all know how easy it is to cut down on sleep to get a little more out of the day. With careful planning you can get more sleep without sacrificing on family time and activities.
Are there any sleep habits you can recommend people adopt that will help improve sleep quality and time?
Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. Do not allow bedtime and awakening time to drift. The body "gets used" to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed. Even if you are retired or not working, this is an essential component of good sleeping habits.
Avoid long naps during the day. If you nap throughout the day, especially in the afternoon, it is no wonder that you will not be able to sleep at night. The late afternoon for most people is a "sleepy time." Many people will take a nap at that time. This is generally not a bad thing to do, provided you limit the nap to 30-45 minutes and it does not affect you sleep that night.
Avoid alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime. Many people believe that alcohol helps them sleep. While alcohol has an immediate sleep-inducing effect, a few hours later as the alcohol levels in your blood start to fall, there is a stimulant or wake-up effect. Alcohol also can drop blood sugar levels, which affects sleep quality.
Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime. This includes caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate, so be careful.
Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime. These can affect your ability to stay asleep.
Exercise regularly, but not right before bed. Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can help deepen sleep. Strenuous exercise within the 2 hours before bedtime, however, can decrease your ability to fall asleep.
Manage your night time blood sugar. Many people, especially those with adrenal fatigue, have low blood sugar at night. Even if you do not wake in the middle of the night from hunger or cravings, consider a trial of about 10-15grams of healthy protein before bed to help stabilize night time blood sugar.
Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated. A cool (not cold) bedroom is often the most conducive to sleep. Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated.
Practice relaxation techniques before bed. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension.
Don't take your worries to bed. Leave your worries about job, school, daily life, etc., behind when you go to bed. Some people find it useful to assign a "worry period" during the evening or late afternoon to deal with these issues.
Establish a pre-sleep ritual. Pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading, can help you sleep.
Always follow the advice of your physician and other healthcare professionals. The goal is to rediscover how to sleep naturally, but very often our patients benefit from prescription sleep medicines in combination with good sleep hygiene and natural sleep formulae.
Dr. Petersen will be able to take questions and have further discussions on CFS December 18th live on their Facebook page www.Facebook.com/holtorfmed They'll also be giving away a free consult with myself as well as product giveaways.
If you want more information on treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome or fatigue-related conditions, please visit their website at www.holtorfmed.com or call (801)821-5384 to talk to a patient representative.