Both the scientific and medical community agree that the average adult requires at least 7 hours or more of sleep each night to maintain general good health and well-being according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Sleep deprivation is an issue for people with medical conditions like musculoskeletal cancer, with a lack of sleep exacerbating the medical condition further. Read on to find out more.
Causes of sleep deprivation in cancer patients
Sleep disorders, such as difficulty falling asleep, maintaining a sleep period, disruptive sleeping patterns, early awakening, and excessive daytime sleepiness, are prevalent in patients with cancer. Research by the National Cancer Institute indicate that up to 50% of Americans experience sleep deprivation during or after cancer treatment.
The causal factors that may lead to sleep disruption for cancer patients can be side effects experienced from the treatment, medication being taken, protracted stay hospital visits and the stress. The physical changes caused by the cancer can create biochemical changes that can impact your usual sleeping pattern. If sleep is disturbed over a prolonged period this can lead to fatigue and depression that compounds the other causes.
How can you help improve your sleep?
Sleep is important for us all but, for cancer patients it can be a critical need in the recovery process. There are several steps that can be taken to help improve your sleep. Assess your sleeping environment to see if it can be improved to make sleep more comfortable. You may need to consider changing your bed or mattress to improve sleep quality; is the bedroom too hot or cold; is noise a factor for example external or a snoring partner.
Discuss your sleep problem with a medical practitioner who can decide if sleep therapy treatment such as light and stimulant therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy that has been shown to help 70-80% of cancer patients with their sleep. Also, try relaxation exercises before bedtime and there are several different sleeping applications available that can help you.
For those with cancer the stress and anxiety caused by the condition and treatment can naturally lead to sleep deprivation. It is important to understand that this is common for cancer patients and there is help available and things that can be done to help with the problem.