How my fatigue was cured by tilting the top end of my bed

Actually it is early days yet, but my theory seems to be confirmed by the evidence, and there is a noticeable improvement in my symptoms.

But let me start at the, or rather a, beginning. In 2012 work was rather busy and stressful, and our project room was not ventilated enough. I started to have trouble breathing and was often coughing, and also got more and more fatigued. In the end I called in sick and stayed home for a period of time. While I was at home I decided I didn't want to rush back into working full-time, and decided to take up all my vacation days left, and buy an extra month of them, so that I could take my time recovering and building up condition. But the recovery stayed out, and so the condition building didn't work either.

After my free days were over, I had to go back to work, and spent months gradually increasing my hours until I finally was able to work 8 hours a day again (for my four days a week). But 32 hours of work left very little energy for fun things in the weekend, and even more so in the evenings.
(Actually, when thinking back, I already had some periods of surprising lack of condition in the years before, but they passed after a while - so this story starts at 'a' beginning.)

In the mean time I have of course been busy with first my GP, and then a number of specialists, to find the cause of this ongoing fatigue and breathing problems. Actually I had already asked my GP if the breathing issues might be caused by acid reflux irritating my airways, and this apparently existed and was called Gastric Asthma. But it took months yet before a lung specialist, after exhausting all other options, tried proton pump inhibitors (PPI's) to reduce the acidity of the stomach, and thereby the reflux. And these had a profound effect on my breathing issues, and they were reduced to a very manageable level. Unluckily this didn't result in improving fatigue.

After working with my GP, Ear-Nose-Throat and lung specialists, internist, haptonomist, physiotherapist (condition building), dietician, 'healing hands', and acupuncture, the only thing that was found to have any effect on the fatigue was eating fewer gluten, and that seemed not so much an allergy, as that gluten processing just costs a lot of energy, so leaving the majority out of my diet saved me some energy.

The multitude of symptoms I experienced kept me confused as well, and I didn't succeed in separating the effects of fatigue from its cause.

The lung specialist had also tested for sleep apnea (negative), but since I had hardly slept that night, I kept wondering if that result was to be trusted, because I often felt most tired in the mornings, and had the weird effect that when sleeping longer/deeper, I felt mentally more rested, but physically more tired, and vice versa. So in December 2016 I started more research on the internet about sleep apnea, acid reflux, and gastric asthma, and found an interesting symptom with apnea: acidification of the muscles during the night. That sounded like the tiredness I often experienced later in the night where my body was aching, and changing position often didn't help much. So I wondered if that also might be caused by too little oxygen intake during the night, and decided to try to breathe deeply a number of times the next time it occurred. And that actually helped! Finally something tangible in the search for a solution.

Could it be that my acid reflux not only irritated my airways, but also caused reduced oxygen intake during the night? And that this reduced the effectiveness of my sleep and recovery during the night? Perhaps it was time for another visit to a lung specialist. Actually no medical professional had looked into the cause of my acid reflux, or given me advice on how to deal best with it. I had heard that raising the top end of my bed would reduce acid reflux during the night, and had already added a 2 inch beam under my bed, but during the research I encountered advice to raise it 5 inches, so I added some more planks. And to my surprise I woke more rested the next morning, and the days after, and I also felt I could breathe more easily/effectively in bed, and slept deeper. Finally, after 4.5 years, there was noticeable improvement, and it seemed to confirm my theory. So now it is time to visit an intestinal tract specialist and see what causes all this acid reflux and if more can be done to prevent/reduce it.

This is the current situation; my fatigue is much less than before, but not gone (although it could easily still improve with more rest and condition building), but this discovery is only 1.5 weeks ago, so it is still rather early to conclude if and how much improvement there will be. Still, even the current improvement is already very useful, and knowing the cause also removes a lot of doubt about what to do or avoid (like rooms with too little ventilation).

To be continued...

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