Nexus Newsletter Issue 3Paradox of Rest‫_img

Fatigue is the leading reason for restricted activity in people 70 and older, according to a 2001 study by researchers at Yale.Other studies have linked fatigue with impaired mobility, limitations in people’s abilities to perform daily activities, the onset or worsening of disability, and earlier death.

The Paradox of Rest:

One interesting phenomenon observed in older adults is the paradoxical relationship between rest and fatigue. While rest is often prescribed as a remedy for fatigue, some older adults find that excessive rest can actually worsen their fatigue. They stop being active, become more fatigued, which then results in weakness. This paradox can be attributed to several factors:

  • Muscle Weakness and Deconditioning: Prolonged periods of inactivity can lead to muscle weakness and deconditioning, making it more difficult for older adults to engage in physical activities and exacerbating feelings of fatigue.
  • Disruption of Circadian Rhythms: Excessive daytime napping or irregular sleep schedules can disrupt circadian
    rhythms, leading to fragmented sleep and increased daytime fatigue.
  • Social Isolation: Older adults who spend excessive amounts of time alone or inactive may experience feelings of loneliness and social isolation, which can contribute to fatigue and worsen overall well-being

While rest is often prescribed as a remedy, it’s essential to recognize that excessive rest may exacerbate rather than alleviate fatigue.

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