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For more information, please see our chapters below: which cover, Fatigue and pacing, Sleep, Goal Setting and Exercise.

Fatigue and Pacing

pain cycle

Fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion that can affect you physically and psychologically. These symptoms can last short or long periods having effects on your normal daily routine such as getting washed and dressed to difficulties continuing to work. Fatigue can also make you feel emotionally tired affecting your mood and motivation.

Do others around you know how you feel? Helping our friends, family and work colleagues understand why we feel fatigued can really help. The more they can understand what causes us to feel fatigued, the more they are able to help. It's not about avoiding the task or activity, it's about doing it at our own pace. 

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Can you spread tasks out throughout the week?


Is the task urgent or can it be left to another day or all together?


Can you spread out the task throughout the day/week?


Can you ask others to help complete harder tasks?



Are you completing the task in the most efficient way? Could it be done another way?

Happy Woman

"Pacing is about taking a break before I need it throughout the day. Only carrying out short periods of activity and taking scheduled rests. It really helps when I judge when to stop an activity based on TIME and not on PAIN. Pacing helps give me back some control"

Prioritising and planning can be a helpful way to manage pain. Make a list of things that you would like to do but remember to be flexible. It is a good way to set yourself a starting point. i.e what are the things that NEED to be done, and what things could perhaps be done another day. For example, do you really need to clean the entire house today? Or could some of it be done tomorrow? Or if you need to do a food shop today, do you really need to do get 2 weeks worth of food in one go?

Sleeping Better.


It can be really challenging to get good quality sleep. However, we know that the amount of sleep we are able to achieve can directly affect our perception of pain. Quality of sleep is an important factor.
In an experiment, healthy, pain free  volunteers were woken during each period of deep sleep. Over time, as their sleep was disturbed a number of them developed the typical signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia. The quality of sleep we are able to achieve, can have a direct impact on our sensitivity to pain.

Woman Sleeping

A bad nights sleep can make us feel irritable, frustrated and can actually increase how much pain we feel. This in turn can put a strain on our relationships which, can often add to our frustrations. 



For Fibromyalgia, your Rheumatologist may encourage you to take medication to help you sleep better. It is important to talk about your medication with your Doctor. If you don't feel it's working for you, there may be other options you can try. The medication that works for one person, may be different for another. 

The environment we surround ourselves in can have both a positive and negative affect on our sleep. Going to bed in a comfortable, quiet and dark room can have a positive effect.

Giving our brain stimulation can have a negative effect on helping us to relax and fall asleep. E.g. caffeine, smoking and alcohol all have the effect of ‘waking up’ the brain and can therefore reverse our attempt to fall asleep. The same can be said for lights form outside, mobile phones or the TV.

If we able to get into a pattern with our sleep, this can help to teach our body when we should be sleeping. E.g regularly going to bed at the same time each night. It may also be beneficial to have a ‘wind down’ routine e.g taking a bath or reading a book.

The Sleep Advisory Panel




For healthy functioning of our body, exercise is essential. It plays an important role in helping the body regulate many of its functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol. A lack of exercise is also know to have a negative effect on our mood, our sleep and can also lead to weight gain. Even our memory can be affected. Getting into a regular form of exercise that you both enjoy and can keep up, can be an important tool in helping you sleep better and reduce pain.