M.E. Management

Silhouette of a person raising their arms in triumph

Getting better is like solving a jigsaw puzzle - you have to put all the pieces in the right places at the right time to see an improvement - but we don't always know what all the pieces are! Some, however, are well known, tried and tested:


Never push yourself until you are exhausted. Rest from mental as well as physical work. Organise your life as far as possible. Accept help from friends and family. Arrange for deliveries rather than doing the shopping yourself. Delegate tasks as far as is possible in your circumstances.

Proper rest means resting from exercise, visitors, telephone calls, reading and even TV and radio. This is something you should do regularly, even on a day when you feel well. Fatigue in M.E./CFS is delayed so if you push yourself one day, expect to "pay for it" 12 to 36 hours later.


Here the experts do not agree. Some say stick to normal hours, others are of the opinion that you should sleep when your body demands it. Whatever you believe, one thing is clear: one of the most important aspects of health is a good quantity and quality of sleep. In M.E./CFS it is characteristic to have a disturbed pattern of sleep, as if the biological clock has been set 2-6 hours late.

Medication might help, and some people with M.E./CFS are helped to get to sleep by taking a low dose of a tricyclic antidepressant such as amitriptyline a few hours before going to bed. Start on a dose as low as 10mg and take only up to 25mg. This can make you comfortable enough to relax into sleep (this is a different dose from that used for depression). Other things that may help:

  • Do not drink stimulants like tea or coffee in the evening.
  • The bedroom should be fully dark, but well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
  • There are various relaxation techniques you can try, to create awareness of each part of your body and to help it relax until you are fully relaxed as a whole. You may like to create a visualisation, imagining you are in a beautiful and healing place. Sheffield M.E. Group has lots of CDs and cassettes to help with relaxation and sleep, and these are available to members via our library.


List the ten most important things you have to do and ignore the last five; they can wait for another day. If you are very ill just set yourself the goal to achieve one thing per day. Make sure your expectations are realistic (painting the bathroom in one day is definitely not!). Don't feel guilty if you cannot do what is expected of you or what you have expected of yourself. There is always another day!


Sheffield Yoga for M.E./CFS is an independent group which runs gentle yoga classes for people with M.E./CFS. The yoga consists of relaxation, breathing and some gentle physical postures (optional) and most of it is done lying down. Free transport is available. For further information and inclusion on their mailing list please phone 0845 582 0112 (between 11:30 and 4pm).

Help from the NHS

An M.E./CFS service, based in Sheffield S6, helps patients manage their condition. This is done in groups, individual sessions, and also by telephone support. Medical tests have to be carried out, to rule out other serious illnesses, before your GP will refer you to this clinic. For more information about the service, contact The M.E./CFS Service, 'Fairlawns', 621 Middlewood Road, Sheffield S6 1TT phone 0114 229 2937. Prescribing medication, for instance to help with sleep or pain, is still under the direction of the patient's GP.

The Grace Charity for M.E. have produced an informational document for hospital medical professionals describing appropriate care and treatment for M.E. patients while admitted to hospital (whether for M.E. or seperate condition). If you are admitted to hospital, this could be an invaluable resource. Click here to download the booklet.

Nursing Guidelines for patients with M.E. are available to medical staff on the intranet that serves all Sheffield hospitals. The document itself, details the correct care of M.E. patients when staying in hospital. To download a copy, choose one of the followning links:

The Condition Management Programme is delivered by the NHS across South Yorkshire, helping individuals to better understand and manage their health condition. They offer a special fatigue programme as an alternative to the core programme, which is shorter at only 1½ hours per session. The practitioners running it are experienced in fatigue, and sensitive to the needs of the individuals in the group. It is not possible to self refer to this service, however your benefits advisor can refer you. Visit the Condition Management Programme website or call 01709 886600 for more informaiton.

Other Help

Hallamshire Physiotherapy is a private clinic that provides high quality treatment and rehabilitation for a range of complex problems, including M.E./CFS. The clinic is located in the S10 area. For more information, visit their website or call 0114 267 1223.

Has Sheffield M.E. Group helped you? Please visit our Help Us to Help You page for many quick and easy ways to support us.

The inclusion of information of any kind on this website does not imply a recommendation or guarantee of accuracy. Nor are any views or comments necessarily those of the Group. Before embarking on anything different or new, you are advised to discuss this with your doctor. Sheffield M.E. Group is not responsible for external links.

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