How sleep is essential for good health

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How Sleep Is Essential For Good Health – Non Refreshing Sleep.

A major symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is non refreshing sleep. What is non refreshing sleep? It’s waking up in the morning feeling as if you haven’t had any sleep and your batteries have not re-charged.

You continue to feel sluggish and your body still has that horrible dragging feeling that it had the day before. You no longer have the simple, enjoyable and satisfactory pleasure of waking up, stretching and thinking ‘aah, that was a great sleep’.

how sleep is essential for good health

After I recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome, one of the best feelings for me was waking up in the morning refreshed, knowing that my batteries had recharged and I could start my day energetically.

During the many years I was sick, I missed this normal feeling that is taken for granted by most people on waking every morning. You truly don’t understand how sleep is essential for good health until you lose the ability to sleep deeply and restoratively.
Without restorative sleep you experience intense feelings of fatigue all day long, day in and day out.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Not Simply Feeling Tired

Chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers are not simply “tired”. They have a feeling of extreme fatigue and exhaustion that is not relieved by sleep. The fatigue is unrelenting and can be made worse by too much mental or physical activity.

Some people have a higher propensity for physical activity to tire them out. For others, it is mental activity that makes them more exhausted. To recover from too much mental or physical activity it’s important to rest for longer than usual. Sleeping a bit later in the mornings and napping during the day can help get back some energy.

how sleep is essential for good health

As chronic fatigue syndrome proceeds you may be able to recognize which aspect, mental or physical tires you most. You may be aware of a crash occurring after a long shopping day, walking too far, or a busy day filled with chores without taking time for a rest or a nap in between. These are some physical activities that can tire you out.

Too much work or study, or being in an environment that is filled with noisy chatter can tire you out mentally. Your brain uses a lot of energy so if it is constantly being stimulated it will lead to feelings of fatigue.

Once you pinpoint which activities are causing you to feel most fatigued you can work out how to lessen the time spent on them and avoid a crash. You need to balance your day with the right amount of physical and mental activity that suits you.


Regular Sleep Routines

Sleep difficulties are a frustrating characteristic of chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes there is difficulty falling and staying asleep. Often sufferers wake up routinely during the early hours of the morning with difficulty getting back to sleep again.

At a time when your body requires solid sleep more than ever to recover, it seems impossible. Continually having sleep problems and being sleep deprived can make the other symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome seem worse. Symptoms like pain and brain fog are heightened due to poor sleep quality compounding these already difficult issues.

It is important for your recovery to instill a regular sleep routine. Staying up late, then sleeping late in the morning is not a good habit. Try to be asleep by 10 pm each night to be in tune with the body’s normal adrenal pattern. The adrenal glands get a “second wind” from 11pm to 1am and move into a higher gear making it harder to fall asleep during those later hours.

how sleep is essential for good health

Being asleep by 10 pm ensures that the adrenals are rested, enabling them to repair. The most regenerative and deep sleep happens between 10 pm and 2am. Ensuring you are asleep by 10pm each night helps your body heal, repair and restore. Try to have at least 8 to 9 hours sleep regularly every night. Learn more about your adrenal gland function here.

Things To Do To Help You Sleep Well

As mentioned, setting a regular bedtime is vital, preferably aim to be asleep by 10 pm each night. Getting a good night’s sleep however starts long before your head hits the pillow. These are some things you can do to ensure you fall asleep and stay asleep all night:

  • Remove caffeine – Caffeine is a strong stimulant that pushes your already burnt out adrenals to keep performing past their current depleted ability. Removing caffeine in all forms from your diet will help you get to sleep at night and aid your recovery. If you can’t bear the thought of going cold turkey, start by reducing your intake until you are gradually able to kick the habit. Whilst you are gradually reducing your intake to zero, make sure not to drink any caffeine loaded drinks after lunchtime.
  • Reduce stimulatory behavior – Watching TV all night, internet surfing and gaming, or engaging in arguments all stimulate your brain. Quiet reading or listening to soothing music can be helpful activities instead.
  • Dim the lights -Humans developed to rise early in the morning with daylight, and sleep as the sun sets. Reduce harsh overhead lighting and use dimmed side lighting (or candle light if you’re in a romantic mood) instead. This is more relaxing and lets your brain know that you are getting ready for sleep.
  • Meditation – A regular Yoga Nidra or evening meditation practice can help your mind relax and ready your body for restful sleep. You need to practice it regularly for it to be effective and train your mind to become calm.
  • Have a healthy snack before bedtime – Low blood sugar can cause you to wake in the night. Before going to bed have a small low carb/high fat snack such as a couple of nuts or some seeds.
  • Restrict fluid intake – If you find you wake during the night needing to pee, finish drinking fluids by 7pm. Your aim is to have a full restful and undisturbed night of sleep.
  • Sleep in a dark room – Make sure your bedroom is dark, use block out blinds or curtains to ensure there is no light in the room.
  • Electronic equipment – Remove all electronic equipment from your bedroom. This includes TV’s, computers, and mobile phones.

Putting It All Together

Sleep is essential for chronic fatigue sufferers to help them manage their energy and recover from their illness. Setting a regular bedtime and getting 8 to 9 hours sleep each night will help greatly in your recovery.

Understanding your personal mental and physical energy limits is important, manage them on a daily basis and rest or nap when needed during the day.

Use the tips above before bedtime to ensure you can fall asleep and stay asleep for 8 or 9 hours. These habits will assist greatly in allowing your body to rest and recover.

Please feel free to leave a comment or any questions you may have below.






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  1. This is such a good reminder to get more sleep. Sometimes I forget the importance of true restful sleep. I’ve suffered from chronic fatigue and insomnia for much of my life and the tips that you have mentioned here, have been the things that have helped me recover. Thanks for your insight and the reminder to keep up these habits.

    • Hi Natalie

      Glad that the list helped remind you. I think it’s really important to get into a good routine to encourage restful sleep.

  2. I loved this post, mainly because I’ve been suffering chronic fatigue for most of my life. I’ve heard of and implemented most of the list that you provide, but there are a few new things for me to try now so thank you!

    You say that the best sleep happens between 10pm and 2am, these are the only hours that my body will sleep due to being in pain for the last 5.5 years and that’s only with 3 different sleeping meds: melatonin 10mg, ativan 10mg, and zopiclone 7.5mg. I take the melatonin at 8pm then the zopiclone at 10pm and go right to sleep, then when I wake at 2am I take the ativan (which also controls my pain) and sometimes get another 2 hours, but usually only 1 more hour. I’m going to implement the rest of your suggestions and see if I can’t get off of some of these medications. Super grateful for the information!

  3. Wow, this is such an important topic. Even as a person without chronic fatigue, I feel such a difference if I have a refreshing night sleep or not. Certainly balancing my mental output and physical out is important, because if I spend too long at a computer, and if feels like i’m not moving my body I can be even more drained than if I went to the gym for 2 hours. I do relate to getting the second wind. If I stay up past 11:30 then I might not be sleepy at all, even when I was so tired at 10pm, so I try to get to bed before 11 to prevent this from happening. thanks for sharing!

  4. I used to suffer from chronic fatigue, and depression that accompanied the extreme fatigue. It happened gradually after my two sons were born. Too many nights of being woken up by my colicky children and later when they were teething or were sick. It started a pattern and caused years of illness for me. The chronic fatigue spiraled into severe allergies and severe depression. I had to get control of the allergies first, then worked on the depression with natural methods, and very gradually the chronic fatigue left. I have to be very careful with any caffeine, nothing after 2 pm. We used to have a TV in our bedroom but no more. I am guilty of watching a lot of TV before bedtime in the living room but it actually helps me to sleep. When I take a nap on the couch, I have the TV on so I can’t hear any outside noise like barking dogs etc. I generally read just before sleep too. A good mattress, pillows, cool temperatures are all needed for me to sleep right. Sleep can be so complicated and yet so vital to everything in our lives. We recently got room darkening drapes for our bedroom and that really helps not to be woken up in the night by our security lights outside. Our cats roam at night and keep setting off the lights! I find a banana is a great snack at bedtime 🙂 You’ve done a thorough review here, and I hope it helps those who are still struggling. 

    • Hi Madeleine thanks for your comments. Sorry to hear your problems with extreme fatigue, however it sounds like you have it under control now. I find room darkening drapes help a lot with getting a good night’s sleep too. Everyone needs to experiment a bit with what can help them. It’s interesting how many people are unaware of what they need to do to switch off and get their body ready for bedtime.

  5. I can see how having the right amount of sleep is beneficial for our health. In my experience, not having the right amount of sleep makes me feel groggy and less productive during the day. Not to mention a little snappy.

    I’ve also recently found that going to the gym and drinking plenty of water during the day and before bed helps me to get a real good night’s sleep. You really can’t beat that awesome feeling when you wake up refreshed and with plenty of energy, even on a miserable day.

    Fortunately, I don’t suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I already have a couple of health issues as it is lol.

    But as you say, if we can get into a good sleeping routine and try out various things that go hand-in-hand with that, it can help sufferers of CFS and also non-sufferers to get a decent amount of sleep, in general.


    • Hi Neil thanks for your comments. Yes everyone is different and it’s important to work out how much sleep you need to help you feel great and keep you energized during the day.

  6. I have definitely experienced this before and it is not pleasant! I think that you are right  because we don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone! A simple, yet vital function like sleep is so important but you really can feel the difference if you have endured chronic fatigue.

    Like you say it’s like there is a leech sucking away your energy and in some cases you can feel like you have less energy after sleeping! I never knew that the adrenal glands would kick in at around 11 but that definitely explains a lot! I definitely drink way too much water too late at night and am often annoyed with myself when I have to wake up.

    I think that you are right in saying a regular sleep pattern is ideal. This way your body will know what to expect because you have basically programmed it to sleep and rise at the same time.

    Thanks for the info.

    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Renton. Yes that adrenal pattern is amazing, many of my friends acknowledge they push past the time they should naturally go to sleep and get a second wind, then end up getting to sleep in the early hours of the morning. After this type of sleep you generally wake up pretty groggy in the morning.

  7. I can see how important it is to have a proper full night’s sleep.  It is helpful, the suggestions you have given, to ensure one gets an uninterrupted sleep e.g. no caffeine!

    But if you have a stressful job, and you really need to sometimes burn the candle at both ends, are catnaps sufficient for maintaining one’s general good health?  When I pull the long hours, I still try to grab a couple of catnaps throughout the day to make up for the lack of a full 8-hour sleep (I would take a 10 minute one during my lunch break, and one when I get home before I have to hit the desk again).

    • Hi Cath thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you found my suggestions helpful. I think catnaps can be helpful, but it seems that you generally need a minimum of 7 or 8 hours solid sleep each night for your body to function well. I’ve always envied people who can catnap, unfortunately I’m not able to do it. I need to be safely curled up in bed before I can fall asleep.

  8. Wow, Ann,

    What a useful and a helpful article I have read about.I think I’m doing myself a lot of bad nowadays very well. Sleep has become my major problem since I started my internet business. Sometimes I deprive my self of sleep to extent that I get about ONLY 4 hours of sleep in the night.

    And I have realized that anytime I sleep late in the night it often affect my whole day. My brain does not function properly since it did not have good rest, so I will be experiencing what you talked about – mental fatigue. I also realize that it affect my whole body. Even my posture changes. I never thought that the adrenals work with time and that between 11 am to 1 am it becomes very active, making it difficult for you to sleep. 

    My self I have realized that when the body is demanding for sleep at some specific time and I refuse to give it to it, it gets to a time that I no longer feel asleep and I can stay and work up like 2  am early morning. I think by then the adrenals are very active working. That is a very bad attitude I need to quit.

    In fact I have bookmarked this post for future reference since it is of great value to me.


    • Hi Stephen Thanks for your comments and it sounds like you already recognize how you are setting up habits that can negatively affect your health. Sleep is so important it’s great to make it a priority.


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