Fighting Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 1 million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is characterized by extreme fatigue after mental or physical exertion. While the exact cause is unknown, researchers have identified specific things you can do to reduce your symptoms.
Improving Energy Levels
For people with chronic fatigue syndrome, even the smallest tasks can become exhausting. Fortunately, there is strong evidence that you can enhance energy levels and improve the overall quality of your life using the following strategies.
Improve Sleep Hygiene
People with CFS often suffer from insomnia and/or frequent waking. To improve your sleep quality, go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Also, avoid caffeinated beverages, which promote shallow sleep. You should also avoid using laptops, tablets and smartphones at least one hour before bedtime, since these emit artificial light which can decrease melatonin levels in your body.
Graded Exercise Therapy
This type of therapy involves exercise that gradually intensifies in duration and intensity over a period of weeks. Studies suggest people with CFS report increased energy levels after graded exercise therapy, when compared to control groups who only received standard medical care.
Supplement with Vitamin D
Research suggests that up to 50 percent of the general population is deficient in vitamin D. While experts continue to debate the role of vitamin D in CFS, they do know that a deficiency has the potential to exacerbate symptoms.
An essential sugar derived from certain foods, ribose is a key component in the energy-creation process within cells. Research suggests that supplementation with 5 grams of ribose twice daily may have the ability to reduce common CFS symptoms, including pain, mental fogginess and sleep problems.
While research has shown that exercise and supplementation can improve symptoms of CFS, it's important to talk to your doctor to assess whether either is appropriate for you. This is especially true if you have any additional medical issues, such as heart disease or diabetes.