Everyone feels tired sometimes but usually it can be explained by a busy day or lack of sleep. Post-stroke fatigue for stroke survivors is different and is one of the most common effects of stroke. Post-stroke fatigue is not necessarily related to activity level or quality of sleep and does not always improve with rest.
Post-stroke fatigue is often confused with “being tired.” It is not necessarily the same as tiredness, because it arrives without warning and rest does not always make it better. It occurs differently in every individual. It may feel like you are hitting the wall, physically, emotionally, and/or mentally.
- Depression. You may feel tired because of depression which is very common after a stroke
- Sleep. Irregular sleep cycles and disrupted sleep is also common after stroke
- Medications. Some medications may make you more tired than usual
- Post-stroke affects. Physical post-stroke symptoms such as upper limb weakness, paralysis make movement and activities of daily living require more energy
- Pain. If you are experiencing pain following your stroke it requires energy to cope
- Communicate. Your fatigue may not be obvious to others so talk to your friends, family and employer about what you are experiencing.
- Rest. Give yourself plenty of time to rest, including naps or scheduled rest periods during the day.
- Moderation. Don’t push yourself too hard, especially not if you are having a good day, it will leave you exhausted the next day.
- Journal. Keep a diary of how much you are doing every day. Celebrate your successes as you look back and see how far you have come.
- Take your time. Give yourself plenty of time. It may take you longer to get ready to go places. Rushing is exhausting.
- Start small. Build up stamina and strength slowly. Maintain some level of regular exercise and gradually increase it.
- Watch what you eat. Eat a healthy diet. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Consult your healthcare professional if you have questions about what diet is best for you.
- Listen to your body. You are the expert on how you feel.