Mindfulness Meditation - Guided 10 Minutes

The MS Nap: A Surrender or Retreat?

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First and foremost, let me state that while some will see giving in to an MS-induced afternoon nap as a type of surrender, I see it, rather, as a strategic fallback – a sensible and honorable retreat.

There was a day and time in my life with MS (good lord, I just realized that my MS could vote next year) that I fought this disease every step of every day. As I learned how this damnable disease works on my body, I began to see warning signs as something new began to happen. Ever so slowly, I have grown to know my enemy like the hero in some World War II sniper-on-sniper film.

Be it ordinary MS fatigue or a more extraordinary version brought on by exacerbation or infection, I am only now beginning to understand the warning signs of the need for an MS nap.

There was a day when I would honestly find myself curled up on a floor because I’d waited too long. Under a desk, in a corner…reclined car seats were sometimes a welcomed refuge. Now – perhaps my subconscious at least has understood this for a while – I usually find myself much closer to home when such mind-numbing, paralytic fatigue descends on my whole being.

My father – no longer the youngest resident in his retirement community – fights the idea of an afternoon nap because it’s what “the really old people” do. Perhaps I used to fight so hard because I thought MS naps are what “the really sick people” do. Quite the contrary; a 20- to 60-minute nap, if caught at the right time, can make me feel as close to normal as I can any longer expect.

If I wait until I’m stumbling and wall-walking my way to the nearest soft surface, an hour isn’t enough and there is no turning the day around.

Yesterday I stumbled upon that sweet spot and recognized the oncoming fatigue the way I’ve learned to catch an MS migraine before it takes me out for the day (or longer). I’ll admit that it was more by happenstance than aforethought, but I learned a little something about my body and I intend to continue to observe more closely.

It feels so much better to flank my foe rather than mount an all-out counterattack.

What are your feelings about MS naps? Any warning signs that you’re about to go "too far"?

Wishing you and your family the best of health.



Don’t forget to follow me on the Life With MS Facebook page and on Twitter, and subscribe to Life With Multiple Sclerosis.

Last Updated:7/28/2014
Important:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
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