Understanding Tiredness after Stroke

Understanding Tiredness after Stroke

Tiredness after stroke is a side effect that many survivors will face.

Sometimes tiredness can catch you off guard as you’re not used to needing so much sleep.

Perhaps before your stroke, you felt great running on just 6 hours of sleep, and then post stroke you might suddenly find yourself wanting 6 short naps throughout the day.

Rest assured that wantinging lots of sleep after stroke is perfectly normal.

And (puppy) naps are a stroke survivor’s new best friend.

Why You Need Constant Zzz’s during Stroke Recovery

A stroke causes damage to the brain, and after surviving a stroke your brain is hard at work healing itself.

Your brain has to both generate new cells and rewire its neural pathways to perform movements like normal again (through a process known as neuroplasticity).

This will most likely make you feel very tired, and sleep will help in multiple ways. Improved motor recovery is one of them!

How Sleep Can Help You Regain Movement

During the day, you’re probably busy performing your rehab exercises, which is a great first step towards improved movement.

The second step you need to take is getting plenty of sleep, which helps your brain absorb and process the motor skills used.

Here’s how it works:

During REM sleep, your brain turns short-term memories about muscle movement into long-term memories that become part of your daily muscle activity.

As you sleep, your brain is busy turning all that knowledge into usable information! 

Meaning, during your rehab exercises, you are pouring information into your brain. And when you go to sleep or take a nap, your brain processes and stores that information.

Like we said earlier, naps will become your new best friend.

Rest and Feel Good About It

So, in summary, there are two huge benefits to getting plenty of sleep after stroke.

First, it gives your brain the energy to continue healing itself through neuroplasticity. Sleep recharges your brain’s depleted battery.

And second, sleep helps your brain absorb all the stimulation from your rehab exercises. You get more benefit from your rehab exercises when you get the sleep you desire.

Now that you know how good sleep is for stroke recovery, hopefully you can rest a little easier.

Nap time anyone?