Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Sleep

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating condition characterised by long-term fatigue, muscle pain, and joint pain. Other symptoms can include headaches, difficulty thinking and remembering, tender lymph nodes, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. CFS can make it very difficult to do everyday activities and as it’s an “invisible” condition many sufferers find themselves being accused of being lazy or unmotivated and this simply isn’t true.

Is CFS just being tired or is there more to it?

CFS patients are more than “just tired”. They suffer from intense fatigue and exhaustion that won’t go away, even when they sleep or rest for long periods of time in order to recover physically/mentally – but this only makes matters worse because it’s hard on top of having less energy towards everyday tasks like going out walking with friends etc., which can lead people without diagnosed condition into feeling isolated due to their illness.

The average person with chronic fatigue syndrome will sleep for 12 hours a day but still not feel refreshed afterwards. Some people have headaches when waking up and other symptoms that are common in CFS, like being tired all the time or losing energy quickly. Day napping can help a CFS sufferer control their feelings of exhaustion while also assisting them to complete daily tasks but it’s not a solution to the condition.

Is there a relationship between CFS and sleep difficulties?
For some people with CFS, sleep difficulties include finding it hard to get a good night’s rest. This can lead to them waking up often during the night and/or early in the morning which in turn then makes staying asleep more difficult. A lack of sleep can make it much more difficult to recall things the next day. It might lead to more difficulty focusing on activities, and moodiness or irritability may increase. In addition, poor sleep might exacerbate sensitivity to pain. Inadequate sleep can make CFS symptoms feel even worse, so getting as much rest as possible is usually recommended for those with the condition.
Getting enough sleep is important if you suffer from CFS

Sleep deprivation is a major issue for those who have CFS. It might exacerbate your symptoms and delay your recovery from CFS. People who have CFS should aim for at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep each day. A midday nap is beneficial if a late night is planned. 

When the other CFS symptoms begin to decrease, most people with CFS discover that their sleep improves. If you have a hard time falling asleep, your sleep hygiene may need some improvement. For a list of things that might assist you in getting a good night’s sleep, see our article on good sleep habits!

People with chronic fatigue syndrome should be getting enough sleep in order to prevent any worsening symptoms. However, if you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, you should consult your GP who may refer you to a sleep specialist. Our sleep experts are always on hand with sleep advice and can be reached by calling 1800 717 566.

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Queensland Sleep is an accredited sleep service. We are proud to have experienced doctors, nurses and sleep scientists on our highly specialised team.