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A good night's sleep is vital to you as a cancer survivor. Sleeping well is an essential aspect of healing your body. However, getting good quality sleep can be a challenge if you're dealing with cancer or the side effects of treatment such as pain, neuropathy and hot flashes. Other common concerns such as anxiety, depression and stress only add to the problem of not sleeping well.
Here are a few simple strategies that may assist you in getting good quality sleep.
Getting enough sleep can help your memory, concentration, and ability to deal with stress and illness. It can also decrease pain and increase your overall quality of life as a cancer survivor.
I'm sure that many of you have additional ideas and strategies that you can share to help each other with this topic. Please do.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
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To all of the women out there that are struggling with hot flashes and do not want to take HRT, trying mixing hyssop and alfalfa tea together. I use 2 bags of each and make it into an iced tea and drink 1-2 glassed per day and it really helps. I had a complete hystorectomy after battling cancer and my hot flashes were so bad that at times I could not breathe. A homepathic doctor told me about this tea combination and it has worked. When I stop drinking it, the flashed return. It is natural and it works.
i M HAVING A TERRIBLE TIME STAYING ASLEEP. I GO TO SLEEP OKEY BUT STAYING ASLEEP IS DIFFICULT. I.M AT MY WITS END. NOT ENOUGH CANNOT BE A GOOD THING, WHAT CAN I DO?
Sheryl, thank you for your advice and help. We've been out of town the last few days or I'd have answered you sooner. This is the first time I've been back online and seen your post. My husband's sleep has improved over the last several nights--I found some over-the-counter things that seem to help and he's started exercising in the evenings. You're absolutely right on all counts, and I'll be taking your advice, believe me. His biopsy is a week from today, and I see three possibilities. One, it's benign, which is what we're praying for. Two, it's inconclusive or they won't tell us the results until his next consultation which is on the 22nd of this month, in which case we simply have to wait. Or three, it is a recurrance which means he's stage IV, God forbid. I'm trying to prepare myself for the worst case scenario while praying for the best one. Again, thanks for your help. You're in my prayers.
Linda K. in Florida
Linda, it is not at all easy to deal with the stress of waiting for the next exam, the next scan. With all the focus on "what's next?" Your husband's fear and anxiety are taking over his entire day (and night). I am not sure what you have tried, but here are a few ideas. Talk to him. Encourage him to express whatever feelings he has. Tell him that it is OK to tell you everything, don't hold back. He might just need to get the feelings, anxiety and fear out. If he does not want to talk to you (he may feel that this is a burden to you), you might suggest talking with a friend. If possible, talking with someone else who is dealing with a diagnosis of cancer is the most helpful, as they will have gone through some of the same emotions. This will validate his fear and anxiety. You might also want to consider talking with his cancer doctor about what is going on. Call his nurse or office assistant and see if you can schedule an appointment sooner. Tell them that he is not sleeping over the anxiety of it all. They may be able to connect you to a support person who can assist with sorting through the stress and emotions of dealing with everything that you are both feeling. Suggest he try stress relief strategies that have worked in the past for him (such as hobbies, exercise, etc). His doctor might recommend a short-term medication to manage the anxiety and lack of sleep. You are reaching out for help; this is the right thing to do. I wish you both the ver
My husband was diagnosed with stage III melanoma in February 09. It was located in the lymph nodes under his right arm, and no entry point on the skin was ever found, so we don't know where it came from. All the lymph nodes were removed and he was treated with interferon. So far he's had light-ups on PET scans, but until just now it's always been nothing. In January this year there was a light-up of SUV 10 in what seems to be a lymph node deep under his collar bone, but it was biopsied and nothing was found except fluid--they didn't even get any lymphatic tissue. Until just last week they called it stable, but in the last PET the light-up increased by 2 points--from 10 to 12, but there's no evidence of spread or enlargement. He's got another biopsy on Nov. 5, and there's a vague, not hot, light-up in the pelvic area. He's got such a terrible degree of stress over the possibility of recurrance that he can't sleep more than maybe 3-4 hours. It's not the cancer, because we're not even sure that it's back--it's the fear. He can't stop thinking about it, can't let himself relax, can't let himself sleep. Please, somebody tell me what to do to help him. I'm sitting here in tears. He's got so much to live for--but if the cancer doesn't kill him the stress will.
KLIMAKTOLAN is not working!
I found out this nice article and I am going to try.
J Clin Oncol. 2010 Feb 1;28(4):634-40. Epub 2009 Dec 28.
Acupuncture versus venlafaxine for the management of vasomotor symptoms in patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial.
Walker EM, Rodriguez AI, Kohn B, Ball RM, Pegg J, Pocock JR, Nunez R, Peterson E, Jakary S, Levine RA.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.
I will keep you updated
I am having the same uncomfortable hot flashes as you have, always distressing but unbearable at night, it seems there is no solution but I do not see how I can live five years with it. I say five years because it is the time I have to take hormone blockage treatment (Tamoxifen x 2 years + 3 years of something else).
Last week I started KLIMAKTOLAN witch is not 100% safe, since they do not know if it may interfere hormone therapy, but I have to try something. A month of trying while I’m still on radiotherapy will have a negative impact in my disease? I do not know, maybe Klimaktolan will not ether help hot flashes.
If I may ,I warmly suggest everyone of my bad sleepers colleagues, with our health concerns, to approach Tibetan Buddhist teachings. Their wisdom is enough to put peace in your heart and relieve pain, granting a better sleep night.
May you all be healthy and happy.
I have never seen this problem discussed anywhere before. When I had my first session of chemo, I suffered some type of adverse reaction to taxotere. I spent 53 days in the hospital. I nearly died. It wiped out my intestines and my immune system. I developed blood clots, pneumonia, fluid in my lungs, heart problems, etc. I am still having side effects 18 months later. I am taking Arimidex and have had no further chemo, although my doctors wanted me to take herceptin and I refused. I would appreciate any comments.
Sheryl, I have chemo induced menopause with hot flashes 4 times and hour, 24 hours a day. Please do a posting on chemo induced menopause. Paxil is OUT since they just found breast cancer recurrance rates are higher among Paxil users. I am on gabapentin but it's making me nuts. I have ER+ breast cancer so HRT is out. You input and the help of this community would be great!
And one more thing: I usually take one Advil PM a few minutes before going to bed. It helps me stay asleep for seven hours; when I skip it, I often awaken after only four or five hours of sleep. It also helps me deal with self-diagnosed bursitis in an arm that is otherwise painful and sometimes awakens me when I roll over in my sleep.
Getting streneous exercise early each day seems to help me sleep better at night. I also try to consume lots of liquids in the mornings and afternoons. Cutting back on liquids after 5 p.m. has eliminated "wake up calls" to urinate. I usually sleep 7 hours straight through and awaken ready to go to the gym or a brisk walk.
I don't have trouble falling asleep, but I wake up in pain a couple hours or so after I have fallen asleep.Then I get up, stretch a bit, drink something, watch TV a bit till it is better, and I can fall asleep again. The pain is connected with the csq of an esophagectomy, thou --then a couple hours later....though the exact cause is a mystery. Drs are puzzled and not able to be helpful in this. It happens if I sleep in bed, and if I sleep in a recliner (I must sleep on an angle). Why would sleep bring about pain like that? It has been doing this ever since surgery (and never before). Pain is around the midsection, mostly on the left side (surgery was on the right side).
Thank you for this very helpful article. Fatigue can still be an unwelcome part of your life after chemo is long over. Your suggestions are excellent.
d8bXXQ If not medically contraindicated, try to limit oral fluid intake after 5 PM. An empty urinary bladder tends to assist in good sleep.
If I am having trouble to get to sleep, I read a little, and if that doesn't work, I change rooms and maybe have a banana or dish of oatmeal.
A glass of milk and a half turkey sandwich and the tv works for me most of the time.
I have some relaxing music on my ipod - rain, sea waves and thunder - and I put it on in sleep mode on my nightstand. Works really well.
also milk. it doesnt have to be warm, but a plain glass of milk will help you. then, read a book, or watch some tv to make your eyes tired. (:
drinking non-caffeinated herbal tea (especially chamomile tea) before bedtime is another good idea
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