How you start your day is very important. Most of the time, it can set the tone for the entire day. Waking up out of breath and exhausted will make it hard for you to get going, and will make you feel like staying in bed for the rest of the day. Many people with COPD will encounter fatigue during the day, either because of a lack of sleep in general, or a lack of quality sleep.
What you do during the day has a major impact on how well you sleep at night, with or without COPD, and how you feel depends on how well you treat yourself in general. If you have COPD, your body has a few special requirements, such as additional calories and possibly a need for oxygen therapy. As always, go over any potential lifestyle changes with your doctor before starting them.
Here is an ideal day in the life of someone (a fictitious person named “Pat”) with COPD, who is doing what they can to stay healthy, happy and out of the hospital.
6 AM – 9 AM: Pat rolls out of bed to his alarm clock just the same as every morning. He knows that is he happens to ignore his alarm and oversleeps, he will have an even harder time falling asleep at night. Having a solid sleep schedule helps him to get the sleep that he needs.
He puts on his exercise clothes, does his morning stretches and straps up his portable oxygen concentrator before heading out the door for his morning walk around the neighborhood. His doctor has advised him to use his oxygen concentrator while getting his physical activity, as well as later in the day for his prescribed daily dose. He always uses his oxygen concentrator exactly the his doctor has prescribed. Pat also knows that physical activity is even more important now that he has COPD.
After a shower, Pat drinks his coffee and has a healthy breakfast of an omelet, packed with mushrooms, chopped green peppers and fresh cheese. On the side, he has whole wheat toast with butter and honey. This is a healthy breakfast with the vitamins and proteins he needs to start his day with a boost of energy.
10 AM – 2 PM: Pat grabs a calorie supplement shake and heads out the door to work. He knows that if he eats or drinks a meal supplement in between meals, he is less likely to feel tired. For lunch, he usually enjoys chili packed with beans and veggies, a smoked salmon sandwich on whole wheat, or a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich with Greek yogurt.
6 PM – 9 PM: After he gets home from work, Pat heats up some cream of broccoli soup and drinks another meal supplement shake afterward, since he doesn't feel hungry but know he needs the calories. He uses his oxygen concentrator again, which is his daily prescribed dose and watches some television. When he's done, he invites some friends over to play cards. Pat likes to spend time with his friends every other evening, because they make him laugh and lift his spirits.
10 PM: After his friends leave, Pat is relaxed and ready to go to bed. He makes sure the temperature in the room is comfortable and takes his nightly dosage of the bronchodilator his doctor prescribed, so he won't wake up in the middle of the night short of breath. He turns on his room humidifier and goes to sleep.