Apart from the stress and anxiety that cancer causes, the side effects can also affect the sleep of a patient. Studies have shown that 30 to 50 percent of cancer patients struggle with their sleep when undergoing cancer treatment. No sleep is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment. It is almost always seen in people going through chemotherapy. There are more than a 100 types of chemotherapy and each of them have their own unique side effects.
Necessity of sleep
There are a number of different treatments that aid in curing cancer, but for the treatments to work efficiently, sleep is one of the key factors. Studies have shown that sleep accelerates the healing process amongst cancer patients. Sleeping in a dark setting has also proven to increase the melatonin, lymphocytes and white blood cell levels which are essential components in preventing skin cancer and strengthening the immunity system.
Tips to improve sleep during chemotherapy
There are various methods you can use at home without elaborate treatment which can be quite helpful during chemotherapy.
Consult your healthcare team – Chemotherapy plays a key role in cancer treatment, but it can take a toll on your body as it works its way through cancer cells. Discuss the patterns of your sleep with your care team so that they can recommend the safest anti-anxiety and sleeping pills for you. Fear of getting addiction to these medications is natural and there are different ways to cope and get out of it.
Don’t sleep during the day – try to stay awake during the day, this will create a sleep deficit in your system and tire you out by the end of the day, making it easier for you to fall asleep at night.
Have a regular sleep schedule – following a regular sleep schedule despite the work and treatments that you need to take will make it easier for your body to sleep. Pick a specific place you want to sleep in so that your body automatically falls asleep when you get there.
Stop eating or exercising two hours before bedtime – This will give your body time to come to the resting state without any interruptions such as digesting food or bringing the heart rate back to normal.
Restrict alcohol or tobacco intake – cutting off alcohol and smoking from your system will give you more prolonged sleep and help the chemotherapy work better to cure the cancer cells.
Treatments that help with Insomnia in cancer patients
Detailed and extensive treatments are there to exclusively help you with insomnia are now available for cancer patients.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
This therapy focuses on cancer patients reports like sleep patterns, the type of ailments and dysfunctions in your body. Analyzing these factors of your body, appropriate treatment is provided to optimize your sleep. Studies show that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is now a proven way to treat insomnia in cancer patients.
This is a technique derived from ancient Chinese medicine that activates the right neurological points in the human body. Studies show that this treatment helps relieve pain, anxiety and insomnia.
There are a number of non-pharmacological treatments that can also help with insomnia in cancer patients. Some of them are relaxation therapy, stimulus control therapy, yoga, meditation etc. A unique combination of any of these above mentioned treatments can aid in relieving sleeplessness in cancer patients.