Fight MS Fatigue

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can sometimes sap your energy, but it doesn't have to stop you from doing what you love. The right steps can give you the boost you need to spend time on the things that matter.

Have a plan. Schedule your days according to what you know about your energy levels. If you always get tired in the afternoon, try to get as much done as you can in the morning.

See if you can change your work schedule to get to the office early so you can leave before you're too tired. Do important jobs first. Break up big tasks into smaller ones that are more manageable.

Get rest. Schedule regular breaks to restore your energy. You can take either a few 10- to 15-minute power naps or one longer 1- to 2-hour nap.

Just don't nap too much. It could throw off your sleep schedule and keep you up at night.

Stay active. You might feel like crawling between the covers, but try to keep moving. Take a short walk, or do 15 minutes of yoga.

Exercise is one of the best ways to beat fatigue. It gives you more energy during the day and helps you sleep better at night. Regular physical activity also improves your balance. Never exercise so much that you feel exhausted, since it will take your body longer to recover.

The ideal fitness program for MS is a mix of heart-pumping aerobics and strength training. Before you get started, talk to your doctor to make sure the routine you've chosen is safe for you.

Keep cool. Heat and humidity can bring on fatigue. If you start to lag when the temperature rises, stay inside where it's air-conditioned. Or try wearing a cooling vest. The most common type has insulated pockets that hold small ice packs. You wear it over your clothing, and it keeps you cool for several hours. You can also wear headbands or neckbands that use the same method.

Eat for energy. Three big meals a day can drag you down, especially if they're heavy on fat, sugar, and carbohydrates. Instead, eat several smaller meals throughout the day that have lots of nutrients.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on April 19, 2017

Sources

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Eating to Boost Energy."

Cleveland Clinic: "Fatigue & Multiple Sclerosis."

Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation: "Fatigue."

Multiple Sclerosis Society: "Treating and Managing Fatigue."

National MS Society: "Fatigue."

University of Washington Medicine: "Fatigue and MS."

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: "Cooling and Assistive Equipment."

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