After a brain injury it is very common to experience fatigue especially as your brain is working harder to everyday things that you used to do without thinking. So it is very important to get plenty of rest time to give you as much energy as possible. Gradually over time, you may be able to reduce the number of naps you take as your brain improves.

Causes of fatigue can include:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Pain
  • Medication side effects
  • Overwhelming environment
  • Poor diet

Why it’s important to manage fatigue and get rest

Fatigue can make many things seem much harder. For instance, if you’re feeling fatigued, it can be harder to concentrate or take in information. Slurred speech can start to happen, or your body doesn’t have the energy to go out and about. Fatigue can also affect your mood and leave you feeling down.

Common triggers of fatigue after brain injury:

  • Going to a busy environment like a shopping centre
  • Trying to concentrate on a conversation surrounded by a lot of noise
  • Managing paperwork
  • Concentrating on a computer
  • Using public transport
Tips for managing fatigue:

  • Planning activities is important so you can prioritise your energy levels and avoid doing too much
  • Planning also allows you to make time for regular rest breaks
  • Accept that you may not be able to do as much as you did before your injury
  • Keep a diary of when you feel fatigued so you can identify your triggers and learn what works for you
  • If you don’t get an activity done, reschedule for another time and try not to brood
  • Regular exercise and fresh air is good for your mind and body and to promote sleep
  • Eat a healthy diet – aim to eat five portions of fruit and veg every day
  • Keep your brain and body hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Discuss medication side effects with your GP

What to avoid:

  • Avoid having too much caffeine which is in tea, coffee, chocolate and fizzy drinks
  • Avoid exercising too late in the day as this will wake up your body again
  • Avoid sugary foods as these can cause energy highs and lows
  • Avoid alcohol because it can disturb your sleep
  • Avoid viewing mobile phone screens, ipads or laptops late at night before bed

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