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Is Cancer Affecting Your Sleep?

Is there a link between sleep and cancer?  Cancer patients commonly suffer from a range of sleep disturbances such as insomnia, respiratory disturbance and other disorders that are linked to sleep deprivation.  Commonly, a sleep disorder may develop over time in cancer patients because of the side effects of treatment or changes to a person’s mental and physical condition that can lead to health issues such as anxiety, pain and even depression.

(photo courtesy flickr.com)

Lauri Leadley, president of Valley Sleep Center, cancer survivor, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1992. Cancer patients commonly experience symptoms of tiredness during the day or the inability to sleep during the night and this is largely related to other medical issues such as changes in a person’s weight and the experience of pain during the night. “Getting quality sleep was essential to my cure,” Lauri said.  It is important to maintain healthy sleep routines so your body can rejuvenate and function.

During her battle with cancer, Lauri found comfort in certain sleep habits that helped improve the quality of her sleep during that difficult time in her life and she continues this practice even today.

8 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

  1. Clear your head.  Having cancer, or any other life-changing illness creates additional worry. Try to develop a habit of writing your thoughts down as a way to release those worries before bedtime. Even if you’re not much of a writer, you can benefit from placing your worries in writing and effectively clearing them out of your head. It will make for a more restful sleep.
  2. Put your body at ease by running a warm bath or shower right before bed as a way to release aches and pains.
  3. Maintaining a consistent sleep and wake schedule is important because it reminds your body that it was time to sleep and it helps prevent you from falling asleep too late at night.
  4. Removing electronics like my cell phones or laptops from the bedroom makes it easier to fall asleep. This allows your body to obtain more sleep hours than it normally would.
  5. Allowing the use of sleep aids may help you to get to sleep during difficult nights but should not be used to mask other sleep disturbances or health conditions that may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
  6. Treating other medical conditions like heartburn is not only beneficial for your body but it is one less thing to keep you up at night. By paying attention to your body’s aches and pains you will be able to more properly manage them.
  7. Alcohol consumption can create a soreness that is not only painful at times, but it greatly robs you of quality sleep and should be avoided near bedtime.
  8. Exercising three times a week, in the morning, is a great warm-up for the day.  It makes you feel more alert and ready to face the day.  Try to avoid exercising near your bedtime though because it can make it difficult to fall asleep at night.

Sleep is a vital process, that if compromised, can be associated with serious health risks. Whether facing an illness like cancer or simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, sleep is important to overall health and should be properly managed.

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Client Reviews

"I was especially impressed with Andrew the Respiratory Therapist who reviewed my study with me and answered my questions. Andrew thoroughly explained everything about the Cpap machine-from start to finish. I never felt rushed and was assured I could contact him with any additional questions or needs. Andrew told me he would follow up with a call in a week and he did. I believe this center performed the study appropriately and the added benefit of having Andrew teach me about the machine and what to expect was a bonus."

Candace M.

Scottsdale, AZ

"I recommend them highly!! I took my 2 year old daughter for a sleep study and was very impressed. Our sleep technician was amazing with her, very patient and kind. The DVD we brought to watch while getting her hooked up got stuck in the TV and they vowed to return it. We got a call the next day checking on our daughter and saying how sweet she was, they mentioned the DVD. Several days later, we received the DVD plus a new copy of the Lion King with a nice note. They are very good at what they do and if they can make a 2 year old feel at ease, they can probably do the same with anyone!!"

Anthea S.

Tempe, AZ

"Great staff, they make you feel so at home. Every medical facility should be this nice. Felt like a nice hotel. Someone has great taste in decorating. Thanks for making us feel at home."

Steve N.

San Diego, CA