Mornings with Dysautonomia
Morning can be the toughest part of your day when you have dysautonomia. It’s unpredictable no matter how “right” you did everything the night before. It doesn’t matter that you went to bed early. It doesn’t matter that you had extra spoons (energy leftover) from the day before. Sometimes when a person with dysautonomia wakes up, their mornings just aren’t going their way.
Why is POTS worse in the morning?
At night our bodies are working just as hard as they did during the day. Your brain stores information from the day making long and short term memories. The body repairs itself through the night as well. Read more about why sleep is important here. Someone with a form of dysautonomia may find that the symptoms of their chronic illness are worse in the morning.
When you lay flat at night your kidneys jump into action to remove excess fluid in your body. This is why people with POTS often feel worse in the morning; they are waking up dehydrated. We know that potsies have a harder time than the average person retaining fluid in their body. The normal kidney function that can help the average person at night can be detrimental and affect how a potsie feels upon waking.
Treating POTS morning flares.
We’ve compiled some tips for making your morning and ultimately the rest of your day better for you.
- Get out of bed in stages. Your mind may be awake, but your body isn’t. When you have dysautonomia you don’t want to jump out of bed right to a standing position. Sit up in bed first with your feet still in bed. Then transition to sitting up with your feet on the floor. Finally, transition to a standing position. If you feel lightheaded you may want to back up in steps as you may be rushing it. This could be the longest part of your morning routine, taking an hour or more. If you have a class or somewhere you need to be, we recommend setting an early alarm to try to give your body time to wake up.
- Wake up in stages. If you’re a snoozer like myself then use that to your advantage. This tip is similar to the one above. The difference is to let yourself lay down between stages and try snoozing for a few minutes in between.
- Hydrate! We cannot stress this one enough. Hydrate with an electrolyte powder like Normalyte in the evening before you go to bed. On your bedside, have another NormaLyte mixed and ready to be drunk first thing upon waking. NormaLyte has been clinically proven to help with symptoms of dysautonomia. Set yourself up for success and hydrate as soon as you wake.
- Plan your morning for little standing. If you shower in the morning, get a shower chair. Find a seat while you’re brushing your teeth, hair, or doing makeup. Eat a ready made breakfast. You don’t have to stand during these activities.
- Do a bed exercise. There are small exercises you can do to “wake up” your body while you’re still in bed. Better yet, they only take around 5-10 minutes. Some people swear this makes the process go much much faster and helps them feel better as the day goes on. Check out some of these POTsie inspired exercises in our recent blog.
Give yourself so much grace. Your chronic illness means that sometimes you have to allow your body the time it needs to fully wake up. And if that means some days you’re trapped in bed because your body is not cooperating, that’s okay. In fact, read our recent tips on things to do on low spoon days where you find yourself in bed all day.
Try one or more of these tricks to help manage your morning symptoms of dysautonomia. What’s your morning routine tricks that have helped you manage symptoms? Drop it in the comments below and help a fellow spoonie out.