A smashed foot taught me a lesson about being tired

I learned about a link in my life between being tired and getting sleep

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by Caroline Gainer |

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Those of us with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often complain of fatigue, which is much different from simply being tired. Tiredness can be addressed by a good night’s sleep. Fatigue is a different story. The short and sweet of it for me is that tired = good, and fatigue = bad.

The first time I realized that being tired was good was when my foot was smashed by a 200-pound, cement-filled base of a volleyball standard. This mishap, which happened because I had acted before thinking, led to worker’s compensation for a month.

The school where I was teaching had a new gymnasium, and the old one was being converted into a cafeteria. All the equipment had to be transferred, and students in physical education classes helped.

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I saw a group of boys struggling to bring the standards and base through the doors, so I went to help. I told them that they needed to increase the incline so that it would fit through the doors.

As they tried to follow my directions by increasing the incline, the base began to fall, and I stupidly put my foot out to stop it. I was fortunate to be wearing Oxford shoes with good support. As soon as the immediate numbness from the crushing blow subsided, I experienced pain so severe that I nearly vomited.

During my month of recuperation, I had to sit or lie in bed with my foot elevated. I was encouraged not to move around too much, and as a result, I couldn’t sleep. My doctor said the problem was likely due to the fact that I wasn’t getting much exercise.

This knowledge came in handy again last week, when I was having trouble falling asleep. As I analyzed what might be happening, it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t been getting much physical exercise.

I had been busy during the day doing webinars, researching ancestry, and proofing leaflets. My Fitbit told me that I was getting my steps in, but sessions on a stationary bike were the most movement I had been doing.

Being sedentary has many negative effects on our health. What we do when we’re not formally exercising is also important.

Acting on my assumption that I needed physical activity, the next day, I made sure to get up and get moving. As a result, sleep came easily that night.

I’ve concluded that although we need to guard against fatigue as much as possible, we also need to have some level of tiredness to get a good night’s sleep.

Note: COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of COPD News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


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