Tiredness and fatigue

Having a terminal illness will almost certainly leave you feeling fatigued. Try to pace yourself and save your energy for the activities that are most important to you.

The fatigue may affect your ability to think clearly and feel confident about making decisions. This can be frustrating, particularly when you are dealing with the practical concerns. If you are trying to put your affairs in order for family members, you may want to do this at a time of day when you have more energy.

Some people sleep a lot at the end of life, but others may struggle with sleep disturbance, which can make fatigue worse. If you find it hard to sleep, it may be because of anxiety, pain or a side effect of a medicine you are taking. In any case, let your palliative care team know, as they may be able to adjust your medicines or offer another medicine to help you sleep.

They may also suggest complementary therapies such as meditation and relaxation. Improving the quality of your sleep will improve the quality of your waking hours.


This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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