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What constitutes “proper rest” for people with ME/CFS or Long-COVID is different for each person. The goal is to identify how often, how much, and what type of rest will help you stay within your energy envelope and avoid PEM.

Some people schedule rests throughout the day, while some rest when they feel the need. 

For many, breaking activities into smaller chunks and resting in between works well.

Try “radical rest”

Be as inactive as possible for hours or days before a significant required exertion (presentation at work, social outing, family visit, bedding laundry). Plan to be inactive for a period after. For some, this helps to mitigate the effects of PEM.

Consider your position

Sitting may not be good enough for you. If so, recline, with your feet up, or lie flat. Think about the furniture you need in your main living spaces to accommodate what works for you.

Be aware of sensory stimulation

Light, smell, touch, heat, vibration can all use energy. To rest properly, test what works for you:

  • Use blackout blinds/paper or an eye mask if you are sensitive to light (but beware if you are more sensitive to the touch or pressure of the mask!)

  • Avoid kitchen and other smells, or use a medical mask (like we all had for COVID)

  • Try softer blankets, or a sheet between you and your couch, if you are touch-sensitive

  • Have cool packs and heating pads/blankets available if you find you have temperature regulation issues

  • Be cautious with car rides: some people find the vibration and motion of vehicles uses a lot of energy and may lead to PEM. As well, some people who had never had the issue develop car sickness.

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