Living with cancer blog

Strategies for getting a good night's sleep

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. May 22, 2010

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.

  • Create good sleep habits. This includes going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every morning. Most people need an average of 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Incorporate a relaxing bedtime routine of a few minutes of meditation, quiet music or easy yoga stretches before you go to bed.
  • If you need to nap during the day, try to nap in the mid-afternoon and limit your nap to 30-60 minutes at the most.
  • Watch your total caffeine intake all day; especially limit drinking coffee, tea or sodas with caffeine in the afternoon and evening hours.
  • If you do have problems falling to sleep after a few minutes, get out of bed and try reading or doing another relaxing activity until you feel sleepy again.
  • Create a good sleep environment. The bedroom should be quiet and relaxing; try using ear plugs and window shades if needed.
  • If you are experiencing pain or neuropathy that interferes with your sleep, ask your health care provider for help. It's important to treat both of these effectively for your quality of life and quality of 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.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

May 22, 2010