ME/CFS and Feeling Worse After Resting

I recently read a letter in the ME Associations magazine from somebody who always feels worse after resting. I too often feel at my worse after my afternoon rest and when I wake up first thing in the morning. It also reminded me of another blogger who has mentioned to me how much of an effort it is to get going again after her afternoon rest. It made we wonder just how common this is?
I have discovered that this feeling tends to relate to my low blood pressure. For a while I experimented with taking my blood pressure at different times of the day and noticed that it was always particularly low when I felt my worse. One of the reasons I’m so good at doing my afternoon yoga after my rest is that I always feel so much better for it. I found that my blood pressure was always at its lowest after my rest and up to 10 points higher after my gentle movement. It seems that this gentle movement is an effective way of getting my blood pressure from a ‘feeling rubbish’ zone to a ‘feeling ok’ zone.
This has taught me not to judge my ability by how I feel straight after a rest or sleeping: that I need to get my body moving a bit before I can get a good idea of how I am really doing today. I also need to rehydrate first thing in the morning. I need at least two cups of hot water before I start to feel more human.
Regular readers will know that to help me pace I try to do everything I do in a relaxed way without effort. The one exception to this is after a rest. It always feels like it’s a huge effort to get going again so I apply a 5 minute rule. If it’s still a huge effort after 5 minutes I stop but I usually find that once I get going the effort involved drains away.
Do you feel worse after resting? If you have a blood pressure monitor is there any relationship between this and your blood pressure? Do you feel better again after gentle movement?

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4 thoughts on “ME/CFS and Feeling Worse After Resting”

  1. I know totally what you mean when I awake from night sleep, naps or just rest. I feel appalling, the absolute worst I do all day apart from when I am crashing and/or flaring. It takes me about 20 minutes thinking about it to get moving or attempt to get out of bed. I do a mental body scan to relax myself then move and WHAM it hits like the worst hangover of the body and muscles. I know I shouldn’t but I have a cup of tea with sugar before I do anything as it takes me that long to wake properly, or as much as I do. It’s the only tea or coffee I have so it is upon threat of harm I will give it up, you gotta keep some pleasures like morning tea! I don’t have a BP monitor but love the sound of your 5 minute rule. Thanks for the post. Siobhán

  2. Thanks for commenting Siobhan. Personally, I avoid caffeine because of how it can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. However I do wonder whether we need some kind of stimulation after resting if we’re feeling this bad. I think that we find a way through this illness by trusting our instincts, and it sounds like your body is telling you that you need sugary tea! I’m all for keeping small indulgences too. I’m sure decaf coffee isn’t that much better than the caffeinated type but I indulge once a day because its just so nice!

  3. What would your advice be to someone my age (15),16 in February doing their last year of school with GCSE exams coming up? I’ve suffered with M.E/CFS for almost 7 years and this year has been my best. Although I am now starting to feel worse as the weather and season changes.

  4. Hi Sam, thanks for leaving a comment. I’ll write a full reply as my next blog post and post it later today or tomorrow morning. I’m glad to hear that things have been getting better for you up until this season change. Try to take it easy and give your body plenty of time to adjust and I’m sure you’ll be back making progress again soon. As your question is quite general I will keep my advice quite general, but let me know if you have any specific concerns. Best wishes!


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