The two common symptoms of fibromyalgia that many of us complain about are fatigue and brain fog. The symptoms are frustrating to deal with, but there are ways to cope with them.
In most cases, pain is a primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Another symptom that goes along with that for most of us, if not all, is fatigue. Pain can usually be managed, but what helps fatigue? Sleep!
The 4 Stages of Sleep
The first stage is when your eyes are closed, but you can quickly wake.
The second stage is when you are in a light sleep.
The third stage is when you're in a deep sleep, and it's also the stage where your body repairs itself, including the immune system.
The fourth stage is the most important stage, it's called the REM stage, and it's what we need for a restful night's sleep. This is when the brain dreams.
People who suffer from fibromyalgia may have trouble getting to the third and the fourth stage because we continuously have bursts of awake brain activity throughout the night. That is why a lot of the times we wake up feeling like we should've got enough sleep, but we feel exhausted throughout the day.
This can affect cognitive abilities like thinking and learning. We can also be influenced by feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, mixing up words and experiencing short-term memory loss. This can also be known as brain fog or fibro fog.
How to Improve Cognitive Fatigue
Turn off all distractions such as the TV, cellphone, computer, or laptop. Remove yourself from electronics and focus on finding a comfortable place in your home to practice mindful meditation or sit in a cozy spot and read a book. Just find something that will help make you feel relaxed.
Reduce or Eliminate Caffeine
Caffeine, for most people with fibromyalgia, can make things worse. Even a small amount can contribute to sleep disturbances. If you're a coffee drinker, try to transition to drinking decaf slowly.
Exercise Your Body
Slow and gentle exercises like talking a walk or stretching can help increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Exercise your mind. Reading a book, learning something new, or working on a puzzle or a word game can help challenge your mind, stimulate your brain, and your memory.
Write It All Down
Write down important dates, appointments, things you need to get done, or anything you want to get off your mind. This may reduce constant thoughts of worry or stress throughout the day so that you can focus on other things.
Pace yourself. To prevent feeling overwhelmed, take your time completing tasks, focus on one thing at a time, and give yourself breaks. Be patient and go easy on yourself.