Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lupus fatigue: Benefits of a nap!

One of the biggest challenges of Lupus is the fatigue.  It's not just the normal tiredness that most people get, it's a totally different feeling.  I get achy, sore, and the worst headache when I get fatigued.  It feels like a bad hangover or the flu.  Not fun at all.  One thing that helps a lot is AdvoCare Spark, which is great for anyone looking for a little pick-me-up during the day.   The other thing that helps a lot is a nap!  I know it seems lazy or bizarre for a 32 year old woman to take a nap in the middle of the day, but if you have Lupus, I highly suggest trying a mid-day nap.  It helps more than anything!  I am pretty lucky that my job allows me the opportunity to work from home, and fitting the nap in is very do-able.  I know it's not that easy for everyone.  But if you can fit it in, I highly suggest it. 

Even if you don't have Lupus, napping has SO many great health benefits! 
I try to stick to either 20 minutes or 90 minutes.  The chart above has been accurate for me...more than 20 minutes and I wake up groggy and grumpy.  90 minutes is really the sweet spot for me, but I can't always find that much time in my day.  The 20 minute power nap is actually about an hour, because it takes me about 15 minutes to fall asleep and then I lay for another 15 minutes after I wake up to allow myself some time to actually wake up slowly.  Having an hour to just rest my body and recharge makes such a big difference.

Another thing that helps is exercise.  If you have Lupus, finding the ideal blend of exercise and rest can be challenging.  Working out is important to keep your body strong, build muscle and also give you energy.  Napping and resting is important to recharge and let your body relax.  

Some days are harder than others, and I know on days when I don't get any exercise or any rest time, my body is so much more sore at the end of the day and I just feel so much worse.  

The most important thing I've learned since being diagnosed with Lupus is to listen to my body.  I try to do what I think is best for my body that day, and sometimes that means sacrificing other parts of my life.  It's not always fun to skip going out at night because your joints ache or because you have a bad headache, but if you push too hard you'll feel so bad the next day that you won't be able to do the basics.  It's a careful balance that I'm slowly learning to navigate. 

If you have lupus, what has worked for you to manage fatigue?

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