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Naps and Exercise

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Hope all is well with everyone. I have two subjects that are somewhat related. I am 6 1/2 months post SAH and work 30 hrs per week and climbing. About 3-4 days a week after work I come home, have dinner and lay down in bed to wind down and watch TV.

After about 20 minutes I start to doze off so I lay on my stomach and next thing you know two hours have gone by and I'm like dead to the world asleep. I wake up from what appears to be a deep sleep and don't really know where I am, who I am, what time it is, etc. I can only surmise that I am so tired (fatigued) that I just literally pass out and wake up whenever. A little scary and surely scares my wife. Anyone else experience this?

So my silly thought is why don't I just go to the gym and exercise for 30 minutes cause really either way I'm gonna come home exhausted and maybe the gym will build me some stamina. I haven't been to the gym at all but maybe it's time to get back on the horse.

The bad thing is I don't feel any better today than I did at 2 months post SAH which is about 70 percent health. So in 5 months no progress. Work probably hasnt helped. But I wonder is this the best I'm going to feel???

Thanks for any thoughts,


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It’s ironic that you should pose this question today as I went for a nap at 1.30pm earlier, (could not keep my eyes open,) and I just got up at 4 pm. The deep sleep you talk of is familiar to me and I am nearly two and a half years post SAH. The process of waking up is usually a long drawn out affair.

To put my history into a context for you, I was exceptionally fit prior to my SAH, having run the Berlin Marathon eight weeks before I was ill. I also trained regularly in a gym with an ex- marine.

To be working 30 hours six months post SAH is massive. I am very impressed. I manage 14-16 hours of voluntary work per week, (although I am pregnant now and have had to scale back,) but pregnancy aside, 16 hours is the maximum I have been able to manage as healthily as can be.

The fact that you can already work 30 hours, may mean that your capabilities post SAH allow you to go to the gym too; I am aware that Kel Bel on BTG is able to go to aerobic classes after work, so it does not mean that it is impossible.

For me, I still exercise, (not like before!) but I am only able to get a productive work out on the days I do not work. I recall coming home from work before my SAH and feeling ‘tired’ but somehow a trip to the gym would energise me. (I could even run ten miles plus complaining I was ‘tired’ beforehand.) But fatigue is not like tiredness.

If you want to go to the gym after work, it may really work for you; but don’t confuse brain injury fatigue with tiredness. They are totally different conditions. You can work through tiredness, but you have to respect fatigue a bit better.

Brain ‘injury’ is the key word. Think if you had an injured ankle. Putting weight on it and training through it would not improve it. You would need to rest it, in order to help it improve. It’s a similar concept with the brain, but because we can’t see it and look ‘fine’ we very much underestimate the overwhelming need that it has to rest.

Why don’t you try exercising on a non- working day first and see how that develops? Exercising on a non- working day may help improve your stamina better, as training when fatigued is not likely to bring about quick results.

Training can reduce mental capacity – which was ok when I was a marathon runner, as I had enough energy in reserve. But most definitely, heavy training affects your ability to think coherently and slows down your processes. (Try having a complex conversation with someone who’s just finished a long run!) Combining this with a brain injury may not be ideal.

Maybe your brain needs to get used to the concept of training first. ‘You tube’ can have very good resistance work outs - (I don’t know whether you have any dumbbells in the house?) but it is possible to do something at home, just as a starter. Some of the people on ‘you tube’ are very competent professional instructors, so you get a good technical work out.

I tried going to the gym seven months post SAH and the noise, music and conversations tired me out before I even started any training. I therefore cancelled my subscription and built my stamina up at home and it worked very well for me.

Good luck!

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I think there are no hard and fast rule to this - its very individual and you have to listen to your own body.

You already work a lot of hours - I am 5 months post SAH and only working 10-15 hours per week (depending on how I feel) so have some time and energy to also go to the gym. I know at the moment there is no way I could be doing both, working full time and going to the gym (on top of routine family stuff). The gym itself - I'm building up my training session but nothing like they use to be pre SAH ... YET. I have to set myself acheivable goals and accept that things are different for now.

As for sleeping - like you many a day I sit down to watch some TV and the next thing a couple of hours have past and I've missed the programme I wanted to watch and my partner is telling me to go to bed.

Will it ever get any better ..... I'm learning to accept that that is a question that might never be answered ..... we just have to stay positive, drink the water and just keep trying.

If you want to go to the gym, try it ... whats that saying ... suck it and see :-D

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I was asleep most of the time so you have done well..but now I have shunt fitted I am more with it..Just lol

If I feel tired I doze off......but you work...I do not ....I can shop a lot though !

I find night time hard to sleep but in the day....I think I should get a gold medal for it lol

My poor daughter gets sore feet wheeling me around the shops

David you will get better and stronger and I will walk .....give it time and never give up...and sing xx

Good Luck



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Hi David,

Seems like a while since we've chatted! I found my way out from under that heavy rock I was hiding under for a while.

I know how you feel about the sleep thing, I can get to the point where my brain just shuts down and I zonk.

It's normally after a couple of busy days at work or if I've just not planned my days well enough and done too much.

I can literally be having a conversation with the hub and Miss C, I'll just walk off, they'll come and find me curled into a ball, deep asleep. It also takes me a long time to wake up in the mornings, for my headaches to ease.

As Lin said, brain injury fatigue and tiredness are two completely different things. Something most people can't begin to understand.

As for the gym, if you feel ready to try it then do. Trying it on your quieter days is good advice though.

I tried to get back to swimming and water torture (aqua aerobics) but I had to give that up. Maybe one day I'll try it again. Im enjoying my walking, do at least an hour every day now. Still got my mate Fred , as I've called him, the skipping rope and I do Wii fit too. I'm getting there slowly. Take my frustrations out on that or I'm sure I woulda punched my way through more doors in this house by now!!

Anyway, I've rabbited on too much hun, sorry!

Enjoy going back to the gym, just take it easy. Let us know how it goes.

Big hugs to you.

Take care and keep smiling,

SarahLou Xx

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DaviD, I am 5 months post. I had an MRI with & without contrast to check on my little brain tumor today. I had a long & great chat with my neurosurgeon about fatigue. I just sort of started to do some yoga and water arobics. I work 30 hours a week. Last week as I was telling my dr. I had a 3 hour tax appt that drained me for 36 hours and that means to pace myself. Lin was so spot on with her advice. I can only do as much as my brain allows. Today after I got back from Dr. & MRI I slept for 2 1/2 hours and was in dreamland sleep. This is very common for me at least 3 or 4 days a week. I have to usually rest by noon everyday & when I get home from work. Somedays I don;t make it through work. I am hoping I can build up some stamina (SP) but I don't know. The Dr. seems to blame some of this on my Fibromyalsia but I know this is different but yet somewhat the same family of neuro problems. I also have almost a contrat headache in varying degrees. I see the neurologist on Monday I will ask him same questions.

Good luck, Mary

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9 months since my SAH and I am back at work full time I went back after 2 months and that wasnt too wise. I get so exhausted after work I often crash for an hour. Sometimes I go to bed at 7 pm and sleep through till morning. Before SAH I would sleep maybe 4 hours a night and catch up with a good nights sleep once a month.

I enjoy the naps and the sleeps. My partner thinks it is funny I can nap at lunch in the truck. We get a 30 minute lunch and I can eat and have a nap and still fit it in the 30 minutes.

I am finding the days slide by and I am not making much progress. I know that my brain is telling my body I need rest. The weather has been poor lately so I am not walking as much as I used to either.

I am wondering if I should cut back to 4 days a week, maybe take Wednesdays off. That may allow my body to catch up.

I think the naps are a great way for me to revitalize. I just dont see how I could incorporate them into my job.

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This really helped, thanks everyone!

Sometimes just thinking out loud and putting it on paper helps.

Lin-Thanks for finishing my thought. What I was trying to say was if I can get some exercise here and there then hopefully it can help me build stamina in the long run. You make some excellent points! Being tired and brain fatigue are two TOTALLY different things. Before my SAH, I could have driven cross country (and did) tired but now the fatigue is nothing to play around with. My gym is a mile from my work so I have no excuse not to give it a try. Just got the bill

too :). The nap thing I have not much control over. Thanks so much for your thoughtful response.

Kaz- I'm gonna give it a try, probably can't hurt too much. I think alot of us are waiting for that light bulb moment to feel better one day but I guess thats unlikely to happen.

WinB- Thanks for the positive words. I hope you can start walking someday. But if there were the Olympics, I would surely challenge you for the gold medal in sleeping. For 2 months post SAH, I slept 14 hours a day with no problem and still do on some weekends.

SL- Good to chat again, missed your comments. It's funny I wander off and pop in bed and 3 hours later wife is like it's 10 o'clock what are you doing. Slow in the mornings too, dont know how I'll do 8AM 5 days a week. I would love to walk and will try the treadmill but at the moment I get exhausted walking to the mailbox. I'll have to start slow. Ton of water helps though. Hope you are well.

Mary- We're about the same post SAH with similar symptoms. I know you have other issues as well. You are brave. My headache is now going on 200 days! It never went away. It varies from a 4 to an 8 depending on the day and unfortunately have to take pain meds. DR told me the headaches would go away in a month. Not so much. Let us know how the doctor goes for you.

Carl-I went back at 2 months and havent gotten better. 70 percent health when I went back and 71 now. I'm sure work has stunted my recovery. I too take naps at lunch. But right now it's too cold 20-30 out but in April I will be out in my car EVERY day at lunch with a sandwich and a 45 minute nap. Maybe that will help me.

Thanks to everyone for the help,


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am 6 1/2 months post SAH and work 30 hrs per week and climbing. About 3-4 days a week after work I come home, have dinner and lay down in bed to wind down and watch TV.

Im not surprised you fall deeply asleep I would....I think not only is your brain shattered so is your body....

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Hi everyone... I am new here, so please forgive me if this is old news. My physiotherapist gave me a couple of articles to read up on when recovering from a traumatic brain injury. One explains the fatigue: www.tbiguide.com/fatigue.html. It speaks to mental vs physical as well as the importance of good nutrition and exercise.

Not sure if the link will work but the spelling is correct to copy and paste. I'm on the iPad again, so you never know if things work like a regular PC.


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Hi David

I went back to work (on Dr's advice and everyone else's say-so too) 11 weeks post-op and was offered a massive 2-week phased return!! Lucky me... Had to scrape my jaw off the floor when they told me that level of generosity!

I had to use holiday days each week to be able to cope with the increased hours, and would get home after work and sleep for a couple of hours before I could even contemplate cooking or anything else. I live alone and never get take-away because I have also been trying to lose weight too...

I was back to full time work about 5 months post-SAH (because my DR and everyone else kept telling me I was okay to do so...even though I was saying different but still struggling to listen properly to my body...) and I started going to the gym about 6 months post-SAH doing a low exercise regime for a few months and then built it up from there. It was hard-going but it did make me feel better in some ways. (I had a 6-month payment break put on my gym account following my illness)

I now do Zumba a couple of nights a week, and have been doing some overtime recently too, but that has set-me-back massively over this past week! I am shattered. Not surprisingly... (I am just over 2 years post-SAH so still haven't learnt to fully pace myself!)

Zumba can be mentally tiring as well as physically tiring, as there are about 30-40 women in the studio, all chattering at the start and end of class, and then the music kicks in and you have to memorise steps etc... :crazy: Yep, I am mad :lol: But I love it!

I think you just have to give things a go to work out how much YOU can do. No-one can really tell you what you are able to cope with. You just have to learn how to listen your body. I always think Lynne’s advice is brilliant, and her idea of getting back to the gym on a non-work day sounds like good advice to me! ;)

Take care

Kel x

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