Sleep Disturbances

Symptoms of cancer sleep disturbance

Sleep Disturbances

Sleeplessness (insomnia) is a fairly common sleep problem for those with cancer. The experience of it is having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night. It may cause you problems during the day such as tiredness, low energy, poor concentration, and irritability.[ 1 ]

Unmanaged symptoms such as pain, depression, or anxiety can contribute to sleeplessness. This can often worsen other cancer related symptoms.

Key Points

  • Insomnia is the experience of having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night.
  • Unmanaged symptoms such as pain, depression or anxiety can contribute to insomnia.
  • Several complementary approaches can help with sleep disruption.

Managing Sleep Disturbances

Several complementary approaches can help with sleep disruption. The Society for Integrative Oncology clinical practice guidelines list integrative therapies with evidence for usefulness in sleep disruption:[ 2 ]

  • Mind-Body approaches such as these:
    • Meditation
    • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
    • Relaxation training
    • Hypnosis
    • Yoga

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