Home treatment is the most important
part of treating
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). You
can take steps to control and sometimes relieve your CFS symptoms:
Adjust your schedule to take advantage
of times when you have more energy and feel less tired. Keep a diary for a week
or so. Write down the times of day when you have energy and when you are tired.
If there is a pattern to how your energy level changes during the day, try to
plan your work, school, or other activities around that
Do what you can to take charge of your fatigue level. Try not to do too much when you have more energy. If
you do too much, you may become overtired. And it may take several days for you
Improve your sleep habits. Sleep problems may
add to your fatigue and other symptoms.
Go to bed only when you are sleepy. Get
up at the same time every day, whether or not you feel rested.
If you lie awake for longer than 15 minutes, get up, leave the
bedroom, and do something quiet until you feel sleepy again.
alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco well before bed. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep when you drink it within 4 hours of bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in the body for 12 hours. So make sure to avoid it during that block of hours before your bedtime.
Keep the bedroom at a
comfortable temperature. Get rid of all sound and light disturbances.
Make sure your mattress provides good support. Use a neck support
pillow to keep your head and neck from moving too much when you
Take naps if you need to. Keep them short (20 to 60
minutes). And try not to take them late in the day or evening.
Get light, gentle exercise regularly. Stretching
is a good start. Light aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming,
or riding a bicycle or stationary bike can also be helpful. Try to keep a
balance between being active enough to benefit from it and exercising so much
that you become overtired.
Try taking nonprescription pain medicines to
relieve muscle and joint pain and headaches caused by CFS. Medicines that may
be helpful include acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), ibuprofen (such as
Advil or Motrin), and naproxen (such as Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Talk to your doctor if your pain is not relieved by nonprescription medicine.
Join a support group. These groups can be a good source of information and tips
for managing your illness. They also give you a chance to share your frustrations and
problems with others who have CFS. Ask your doctor or contact a local hospital
for the location of a support group near you.
Eat a balanced diet. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, legumes, poultry, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
Try to be patient. Keep in mind that daily home treatment
usually helps relieve or control CFS symptoms. Your doctor may suggest
cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you with your home treatment.