Sleep and Cancer: Tips for Fighting Insomnia

Healthy sleep patterns and habits are crucial components of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately for those dealing with a cancer diagnosis, getting healthy and consistent sleep doesn’t always come easy, and can even continue into survivorship. In fact, sleep problems such as insomnia affect 70 percent of cancer patients as well as 68 percent of cancer survivors.

Sleep and Cancer: Tips for Fighting Insomnia
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Cancer patients experience a variety of physical symptoms as well as psychological symptoms. Chronic pain, which affects 75 percent of cancer patients, is persistent pain that lasts longer than three months. It can be brought on by tumors pressing against nerves and organs or can be caused by nerve changes from treatment or surgery. This pain can be super uncomfortable and can interrupt a normal sleep schedule. There’s also a multitude of symptoms that can be brought on by cancer treatment, causing patients to fall into a cycle of inconsistent and uncomfortable sleep. 

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In addition to the physical symptoms, many cancer patients and survivors experience mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression and stress which can keep them up at night. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 15 to 25 percent of cancer patients experience depression. It’s normal for cancer patients to experience intrusive thoughts and feelings like fear of dying, anxiety around money or life plans and even self-esteem issues. All of these changes both emotionally and physically can really take a toll on one’s mental health. When it comes to sleep, it can be difficult to shut these negative thoughts off, leading to an increase in the development of insomnia. 

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Aside from cancer patients developing sleep problems, there have also been studies exploring how lack of sleep can lead to cancer development. Those with existing medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are actually 15 percent more likely to develop cancer than those without. OSA occurs when the muscles in your throat relax when you sleep, causing a temporary pause in your breathing. 

Studies have shown that those with jobs that involve shift work are also more susceptible to developing cancer because of the disruption of the body’s normal sleep-wake schedule. Our bodies have a biological clock that controls how we function when we’re awake and when we’re asleep. If this is disrupted, it can cause irregular sleeping schedules. One study found that night shift workers had an elevated risk of certain cancers because of the disruption of their body’s natural 24-hour rhythm. Ultimately this disruption can cause changes to cancer-related genes and increase your risk. 

Healthy sleep hygiene is something we should all strive to have. This involves the sleep habits and patterns that contribute to an overall healthy and most importantly consistent sleep. Whether a cancer patient, survivor or anyone looking to improve their sleep hygiene, the following sleep tips in the visual below can help you develop healthy sleep habits that will minimize your risk of developing sleep problems and cancer. 

Cancer patient and survivor's guide to sleeping better

Source: The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com


Author Bio

Corey Doane is a creative writer and content marketer from San Diego. She writes for clients in a wide range of industries from small business and personal finance, to lifestyle and wellness. 

How To Improve Your Sleep Schedule 

Between your daily responsibilities and your responsibilities as a mother, it can be tough keeping up with it all. Typically, one of the first things mothers sacrifice is their sleep so that they can make enough time to fulfill every need. We understand this lifestyle takes a toll, so let us help you by showing you how to improve your sleep schedule so you can feel as rested and energized as possible. 

How to Improve Your Sleep Schedule
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
How to Improve Your Sleep Schedule

Schedule a Bedtime and Wake Up Time 

Much like how your baby or child has a bedtime, you should also set one for yourself. Keeping a strict bedtime will condition your body to be ready for sleep at that exact time, which will make it easier for you to settle into bed and fall asleep. Similarly, you’ll want to set an alarm and pick an exact wake up time for you to get up on a consistent basis.

On mornings where you have extra time, it may seem like a good idea to try and get some extra sleep. Although tempting, you want to stick to your schedule. Oversleeping will make you feel groggy and just as tired as when you went to bed, whereas having a set wake time will regulate your body to feel energized once you’re up and ready to go. 

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The Role Diet Plays in Your Sleep 

You should strive to eat healthier to improve your sleep schedule. Food is your body’s fuel, so knowing when to eat and what to eat will keep you from accidentally staying up too late.  Try to stick to a healthy diet with the right amount of vitamins and minerals

Fast food may be tempting for its convenience with your busy schedule, but processed junk food is high in sugars and carbohydrates. This will keep your body abuzz when trying to sleep and you’ll likely spend more time twisting and turning throughout the night. On the other hand, you don’t want to go to bed hungry, otherwise your body will be far more concerned with eating than sleeping. 

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Learn How To Get Back To Sleep 

One of the greatest challenges for some mothers is having to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to their babies and then trying to get back to sleep. If you have trouble going back to sleep, the best way to improve your sleep schedule is by making it about relaxation instead of sleeping. If you focus only on sleeping, you’ll become impatient and fixate on what’s making you uncomfortable. Instead, do a quiet activity for a little while until your body begins to feel worn out once more. Your bed will feel incredible once you get back into it. You can also look into natural sleep aids to help if you’re still struggling with sleeping.

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Author Bio

Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.