Cancer and Sleep Problems

For someone who has cancer getting a good nights rest can challenging.

There are many different factors for this reason. First the cancer patient has a lot to deal with just in regards to their cancer. According to doctor Josee Savard, PhD, “First, they may worry about what would be the consequences of the diagnosis, will they be treated, what kind of treatments they will receive, what will be the side effects. And then, when the treatments are over, then they tend to worry about the future.” Second the treatments such as the radiation and chemotherapy can make it difficult for someone with cancer to get a good nights rest. Some of the symptoms of a cancer treatment are hot flashes, nausea, insomnia and fatigue. These symptoms can disturb a person’s sleep. Third is the bad habit developed in being in bed the whole day even when it’s not time to sleep. Cancer patients are often tired from all the medication and treatments that they have to go through. Many cancer patients just want to stay in bed. Any activity such as eating, watching television and reading are done in bed. So when it comes time to go to sleep at night it is difficult for the body to do so. There are things a person with cancer can do to help him or herself to get a good nights rest.

A person with cancer can go to bed only when it is time to sleep. Doctor Josee Savard has a wonderful suggestion. He states, “Go to bed only when you feel sleepy, get out of bed after fifteen or twenty minutes if you are awake. Another goal of the behavioral strategies is to re-associate the bed with sleeping. So they are instructed not to do other things in their bed than sleeping and also having sexual activities.” Once this mental connection occurs better sleep patterns can be formed.

A cancer patient needs to avoid taking naps so close to bedtime. It becomes more difficult to fall asleep during bedtime if a person is well rested. Doctor Josee Savard states, “For cancer patients who feel fatigued, we suggest them to day-nap early, early on during the day. So ideally before three in the afternoon.”

Physical activity can be hard for a cancer patient who is frequently feeling tired. However any type of physical activity such as walking can help a cancer patient to get better sleep at night. Simple exercise such as stretches could make a big difference.

The final suggestion is to seek help from a doctor who will most likely prescribe sleeping pills. Sleeping pills can be effective however it is a drug that can be habit forming if used over a long period of time. It is important to talk with the doctor about the length of time used and the side effects of the sleeping pills.

Getting a good nights rest for a cancer patient is important. Sleep helps replenish the body and fight off the cancer. Sleep will also help the body gain energy and strength to handle daily tasks in life. By using these suggestions someone with cancer can get a good nights rest.


Alma is a travel enthusiast who loves visiting historical sites. Besides this, she loves creative writing and shares her views on the different events that are going around her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *