The most effective approach you can take when dealing with your fatigue is to be aware that fatigue is a part of arthritis, and that you might have to adapt your schedule. Don’t look at your fatigue as a sign of personal weakness or try to deny it. It is simply one more symptom of your arthritis that you can learn to handle.

Here are some fatigue tips that are worth trying:

Adjust your schedule as needed. Many people with arthritis adjust their daily schedules, starting their days an hour or two later. This makes it easier to deal with morning stiffness and may also enable you to sleep longer. Ultimately, the result is less fatigue and a more productive day. Other people may rest or nap in the afternoon, which then allows them to continue their daily activities without exhaustion at the end of the day.

Avoid eating heavy meals. Instead, opt for a light lunch, perhaps with a healthy morning and afternoon snack thrown in.

Get enough rest. Rest is crucial. But doing too little can often lead to deconditioning – which makes you feel more fatigued. Moderate exercise keeps your muscles and joints in condition, and has the added benefit of helping you sleep better at night.

Get a good night’s sleep. A lack of restful sleep is a problem shared by many Americans – and caused by a variety of factors: stress; depression; caffeine, alcohol or drugs; not allowing enough time for sleep; and pain. When you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or other forms of arthritis, pain may keep you from falling asleep easily, or it may awaken you during the night. Research has shown that some people with RA experience light, easily disrupted sleep with many mid-sleep awakenings. This contributes to fatigue.

There are several stages of sleep. During the night, your brain moves between these stages in cycles, and the types of electrical brain waves generated vary from stage to stage. To feel rested, your brain requires what is called “delta sleep,” named after the brain waves that occur in the third and fourth stages of sleep. REM (short for rapid eye movement) sleep is also important. It’s the stage of sleep when dreaming occurs, and without it, you will feel tired.